The Gallia Palace Hotel in Punta Ala boasts interiors that take you back to the years in which it was conceived; a style that over the years died out, but later became once again trendy
Until the beginning of the twentieth century in Castiglione della Pescaia, in the Tuscan coastal Maremma, boys would secretly bathe in the sea. At the time it was believed it would be possible to contract malaria from a swim. The word maremma was originally born as a common name, — the first letter lowercase — to indicate a marshy region near the sea. Under these conditions, the presence of tombolos and dunes prevent the waterways from flowing, leading to the accumulation of marshes.
The largest maremma on Italian territory, in which malaria raged, was the coastal area that included southern Tuscany and western Lazio — an area then took the name of Maremma — with a capital letter. Before the discovery of the plasmodium parasite of the Anopheles mosquito, popular beliefs attributed the spread of the disease to both swamp water and seawater. On the hottest days during the summers, in the town of Castiglione Della Pescaia — the boys — regardless of the health implications and risks if their parents were to discover them — dived into the sea.
At the end of the 1920s, Italo Balbo, an Italian politician, and aviator under the fascist regime — in-flight aboard his seaplane over Tuscany — spotted the tip of the Gulf of Follonica. The raised mass of land has the appearance of a wing lying on the sea. The geographical maps of the time indicated the area as Punta Troia.
Legend has it that a female wild boar, to escape her hunters, threw herself into the sea along with her children. Italo Balbo, on a mule, began the exploration of Punta Troia, impressed by the wild and what was unspoiled nature. He decides to buy it. The seven-hundred-hectare area was then taken on by Giuseppe Benedetto Cottolengo, a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. After the transfer of ownership, Balbo settled in the area and changed its name as it did not suit the possessions of a high fascist hierarch. The Troia mass became Punta Ala (due to its structure). The nearby islet, known as Troia Vecchia, became Lo Sparviero. The rocks between this islet and the Punta are still referred to as I Porcellini.
The aviator starts the modernization of the new Punta Ala. The development process of the region goes on for about forty years — until the birth of the port in 1973 — which determines its fortune in tourism terms. In Castiglione Della Pescaia, Italo Balbo habitually bathes in the sea, shocking the locals. Almost a century after the time when diving into the sea was a prohibited act, the town is now a holiday destination, one of the best Italian seaside resorts with the cleanliness and quality of its beaches.
Carlo Gallia was seventeen when he left the family and started traveling around Europe. At thirty-one, he was appointed Director of the Carlton Hotel in London, founded by César Ritz together with the chef Auguste Escoffier and considered the most luxurious hotel in the world. These are the early years of the twentieth century and his hotelier career has just begun.
Twenty years later he took over the management of the Grand Hotel Continental in Milan’s Via Manzoni, across from the Poldi Pezzoli Museum. In 1932, he inaugurated the Excelsior Hotel Gallia next to Milan’s Central Station. There were difficulties at the beginning; the hundreds of incoming and outgoing trains annoyed guests. Additionally, at the time, the neighborhood was considered to be in the peripheries of Milan.
In 1963, after the opening of a new location in Cervinia, Carlo’s sons (Costantino, Luigi, Eugenio, Rina, and Vittorio) who had collected the inheritance of their father after his death in 1944, launched a new hotel business: Punta Ala.
The Gallia Palace Hotel in Punta Ala boasts interiors that take you back to the years in which it was conceived; a style that over the years died out, on to later once again become trendy. The lines and geometries form a design that interacts with the environment in which it is located: architectural rigor against hilly softness, slopes, and maritime pines.
Green areas, flowerbeds. The hotel avenues present themselves as an extension of the surrounding vegetation, made up of holm oaks, cork oaks, rosemary, cysts, mastic, strawberry trees, wild garlic, broom and heather, olive groves. Five hundred meters from the central building, the sandy beach is protected by the coastal pine forest which guarantees natural shade.
Trees, bushes, and expanses of flowers surround the twenty-five-meter pool outside. Just two kilometers from the Gallia Palace Hotel, the Golf Club Punta Ala is a 6,168 square meter area with an eighteen-hole course. One of the first built in Tuscany, it was designed in the 1960s by the architect Giulio Calvasani, who would play golf in his spare time. Natural light illuminates the spaces, furnished in ancient, classic, and modern Tuscan style, which is found in the rural farmhouses of the region: earth colors, rustic wood, terracotta floors, fabrics, and natural fibers such as linen or cotton.
Via delle Sughere
Punta Ala, Italy