The Locali Storici d’Italia is a not-for-profit cultural association that, through special cultural, tourism, and publishing activities, aims to promote and safeguard the oldest and most prestigious establishments – hotels, restaurants, trattorie, confectioners’, pastry shops, grapperie, and literary cafés. All at least seventy years old, they have made their mark in the annals of Italian history through the events that have taken place in them and the personalities who have been their patrons. Sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the Association currently has 240 members.
The Association is committed to safeguarding and promoting historical Italian establishments, ensuring that their legacy of historical events are not erased, as sadly occurred in the case of the legendary Caffè Aragno in Rome and the Caffè Doney in Florence.
At the same time, it constantly promotes cultural tourism in Italy, so that these establishments, which are authentic “museums of hospitality” in terms of the events they have witnessed and the furnishings and memories they preserve, may always be prime destinations for a new and more complete way of getting to know and enjoying the historical heritage and traditions of Italy.
The de facto foundation of the Association came in 1961 and it was officially incorporated in 1976 by the journalist Enrico Guagnini and by Angelo Pozzi, who was then the proprietor of the Ristorante Savini in Milan. On the present Board of Directors, the founding members of the Association are: Giuseppe Nardini – Grapperia Nardini, Bassano del Grappa, who is currently the president; Enrico Guagnini, secretary-general; Daniela Vedaldi – Caffè Florian, Venice, vice president; Gianni Malagoli – Antica Osteria del Bai, Genoa, member.
240 of the oldest and most prestigious public establishments in Italy are members of the Association. About a third of these are hotels, a third are restaurants and ancient trattorie, and the remaining third are cafés, confectioners’-pastry shops, and grapperie in all parts of the country. These also include “corresponding members” – historic establishments around the world of great prestige and Italian tradition by virtue of their foundation, management, or language.
The admission of a new establishment, which may come through direct application to the Locali Storici or through the recommendation of a member, the press, or even its patrons, is decided by the Board of Directors subsequent to a visit and the consultation of historical materials. This is to ensure that it complies with the requirements of the articles of association (a history going back at least 70 years; leading figures in the history of Italy, with written testimonials, events, and great personalities; and original premises, furnishings, and style).
The Association is self-financed by its Members and, for its initiatives to promote cultural tourism, by such celebrated and historic Italian companies as Birra Forst, Lavazza, and Nardini.