Mentioned in parchments and old maps since ancient times, Madonna di Campiglio has an history deeply rooted in a mysterious past. At the beginning it was a border zone and a place along an important transit way through the Alps; the legend tells that two Emperors passes through it: Carlo Magno, who gave his name to the Pass, and then Federico Barbarossa. The documents cited “Santa Maria di Campei” in the end of the twelfth century (1188) when a certain Raimondo built an hospice-monastery, with a little church dedicated to Mary, to give a place to stay to foreigners and pilgrims. Then, this hospice-monastery became the property of the Trento Cathedral till 1515, and then it became gradually less important. After three centuries of decline, in 1868 it was bought by the entrepreneur Giovanni Battista Righi of Strembo, who built the first hotel of Madonna in the place of the crumbling buildings and the old hospice: the “ Campiglio alpine resort in Trentino”, inaugurated on June 1, 1875. It was a summer resort because the Madonna di Campiglio of that time took the Kurort (the summer hill station) as an example. In 1872 the members of SAT (Trentino mountain association) gathered in the Righi alpine resort , founding the society in Madonna di Campiglio. Some years later, Righi built at his expense the road that connects the resort to Pinzolo, considered one of the most beautiful roads of the Alps. In 1886 the alpine resort, after being destroyed by a great fire, was bought by Franz Josef Oesterreicher, owner of the Grand Hotel Trento, who changed the alpine resort in the first Hotel Des Alpes. Thanks to this forward-looking entrepreneur, Madonna di Campiglio became the summer resort of the Habsburg Court. The Princess Sissi of Bavaria stayed here for the first time in 1889 and she came back with the Emperor Francesco Giuseppe in 1894. They were used to walk in the woods, to dance the waltzs in the evening and to meet their entourage and courtier, as Vittoria Adelaide Maria Luisa, daughter of Queen Vittoria and Empress of Germany, and the archduke Alberto d’Asburgo, who was very fond of Madonna di Campiglio. So Madonna di Campiglio became the very refined resort of the aristocracy and the rich Austrian and Central European bourgeoisie, projecting towards a successful tourist future. On February 26, 1910, at the beginning of the winter tourism in the Alps, a group of “audacious” English skiers arrived in Campiglio. They went up to Monte Spinale with their skis and made the first official downhill in order to test the skiing potentiality of Madonna di Campiglio. The attempt was very good. After four days, before leaving Madonna di Campiglio, the English skiers declared: “If the Campiglio winter resort will grow, we’ll be the first to come and the last to leave”. For the first time Madonna di Campiglio imagines itself on skis. The first lift, which reached “Cima Dosson” top on the Spinale mountain from Malga Campo, in Campo Carlo Magno, opened in 1935, inaugurating the years of the “Madonna Bianca” (“White Madonna”) with the first ski races. In 1947 the Funivie Madonna di Campiglio lifts company was founded to promote skiing and the resort. Then it is recent history: fast changes, modern developments, a state-of the-art and wide ski area, that makes Madonna one of the most beautiful winter and summer tourist resort of the Alps.
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