The film director Alfred Hitchcock adored the Grand Hotel Villa d’Este in Cernobbio and used to spend his summer holidays here from 1925 – when he shot a short scene for his first feature film, The Pleasure Garden in the hotel park – until 1970.
It is said he became absolutely paranoid whenever he saw a photographer. One day a fabulous wedding reception was put on at the hotel and, quite naturally, a number of photographers turned up for the occasion. Hitchcock was dining when they came in. He instantly spotted them, gave them a withering look and whispered to the maître: “I’ll leave right now if you don’t throw them all out!” But when he realised the flashes were not at all aimed at him, he calmed down, relaxed, and enjoyed the rest of his dinner.
He was so curious about things that, during one of his stays at Villa d’Este, he even asked to see the kitchens and wanted to know everything about the products and equipment in them.
In the photos: Villa d’Este in the 1920s.