Within our Hotel Gardenia al Lago, in the route that takes guests from the music room on the ground floor up to the upper floors of the rooms, is a fascinating photo exhibition titled “Impressioni di Famiglia” that transports and immerses the visitor in the charm of bygone eras.
This project, long considered, was created to give voice to the spirit of family union between past and future, which characterizes the management and environment of the hotel itself.
Thanks to the passion for photography of the Arosio family ancestors, today the descendants retain an important photographic archive, which starts from the end of the 1800’s, until the 1940’s. These are impressions on 9x12 mm glass plates; 9x12mm and 6 x 4 mm celluloid negatives; up to the modern 24x36mm format of the 1930’s and ‘40’s.
To protect and preserve this heritage of family and historical testimony, to document the evolution of photographic processes, as well as to understand and pass on the habits, fashions and styles in the different facets of everyday life, the family decided to digitize all photographs and make them accessible to the public, then the most significant photographic panels,also supported by printed letters and writings.
The exhibition is divided into three sections, on three different levels: World War I, piano manufacturing, and everyday family life.
World War I is documented on the third floor thanks to the brothers Valeriano and Antonio Arosio who left the hometown of Lodi to join the army, bringing the photographic equipment with them. Years later, the photographs show us the first aircraft, uniforms, guns, trenches, bivouacs, and the simple objects with which they were surrounded and help us to perceive what is not in the history books: the cold they suffered, the frugal meals at the front, but also the smiles triggered by some kind of jokes or play, thoughtful faces, brotherhood among comrades, the patriotic ideology that motivated them, and not least, their fear and longing for home.
Coming down to the second floor, the photographs bear witness to an important Arosio family activity, based in Lodi (a city near Milan), carried on by Emilio and his son Arnaldo. This is the manufacture of pianos and other musical instruments, such as violins and accordions right up to modern radio equipment. These photographs date back to the early 1900s, until the 1940s and show the store in Lodi, a few moments of workmanship and tuning, the different types of pianos produced, the logs where musical instrument measures are recorded, and interesting work tools, today almost forgotten.
Still going down the stairs, you reach the first floor, entirely devoted to the life of the family and its members. Here you travel through almost a century of history, from the end of the 1800s to the 1940’s and ‘50’s. These photographs contain a wealth of potential for both local and cultural historic evidence. Also very interesting is the evolutionary aspect of customs, fashions and beliefs that brought a change of attitudes in different contexts and historical moments. But also to note are more subtle details such as the grace and elegance of some female characters, portrayed in close-up. Family mule ride outings in the early 1900’s and seaside vacations of the 1940’s, show family unity, first contained as the dictates of the time predicted and then exploding into laughter, colors and joviality.
Finally, the family tree helps to contextualize chronologically all the characters so far known, leading to the uniting of the Arosio and Stefanutti families, from which were born the three Arosio brothers: Valerio, Giorgio and Andrea, who today continue their activity as hoteliers with great enthusiasm, creating an unbreakable bond of continuing true to their roots, guarding and sharing them.