Date of birth: 1853
Place of birth: Zumaglia
Related archive: SELLA, ANTONIO
Antonio Sella was born in Zumaglia into a family of farmers. When he was six years old his father died and Antonio abandoned his studies in order to help his mother and young brothers in the fields. At the age of ten he moved to Germany with a friend and began to work in hotels where, thanks to his intelligence, he was soon given important jobs. In 1883 he became manager of the Hotel d’Italie in Rome then, leaving the capital the following year, he opened the Grand Hotel in Andorno which became the favourite health farm and summer holiday destination of élite Italian and foreign society.
However, the hotel in Valle Cervo was a seasonal occupation: during the winter the Grand Hotel was closed and Antonio needed to find work for the rest of the year. At first he searched on the Ligurian Riviera, then his travels took him to the Cote d’Azur. Here he was attracted by a grand, half-abandoned castle – the “cadavre de pierre”, which other hoteliers had previously tried to turn into a hotel – and in January 1889 the Hotel du Cap opened its doors. Success came quickly and in 1917, having given up the management of the Grand Hotel in Andorno, Antonio Sella devoted himself full time to this hotel which, from then on, stayed open all year. In 1889 Antonio Sella married the Bernese Pauline Boos and they had four children: André, who carried on the hotel business started by his father in Cap d’Antibes, Irène, Alfonso and Adrienne.
After a short illness, Antonio Sella died in Antibes on 3 February 1931.