Since its construction in the early 1900s, the Casino in San Pellegrino Terme, Bergamo, was “the destination of Italian and foreign professional associations’ study trips: engineers and architects, as well as doctors and journalists – all the categories that were directly interested in its design, functional, and technical features.”
That is the beginning of Marica Forni’s description of this Italian Liberty gem, designed by Romolo Squadrelli.
When the Gran Kursaal Casino in San Pellegrino opened in July 1907, it was the event of the season, “at the top of sophistication, between photographers’ magnesium flashes and advertisements for the kilometers of silver nitrate film rolling out the top current movies in the cinema theater inside the Eden hotel, to entertain the baths’ guests” (translated from M. Forni, in Vv.Aa., “Architettura e paesaggi della villeggiatura in Italia tra Otto e Novecento”, Franco Angeli, Milan 2015).
In 1910, a local newspaper published an article that read, “It is hard to imagine those lavish and magnificent rooms if you have never been to one of the Casino’s evenings, when it opens its doors to the most cosmopolitan crowd. That is when you can see San Pellegrino as the meeting point it is for the world of elegance. The majestic halls are populated by the most eminent figures in politics and finance, from blue blood or the new money aristocracy; you hear the most famous names, and be introduced to the most important people…”
Today, the Casino is not a place for gambling anymore but a venue for conventions, weddings, and conferences – with the same elegant flair of last century’s high society events.