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An emotional return to a luxury Milan hotel

Vincenzo Finizzola

Vincenzo Finizzola

This image is now out of date, alas. This was the gal’s farewell visit to Vincenzo Finizzola, the for-ever GM of Four Seasons Milano. He opened the hotel 22 years ago, and he walked out for the last time on Friday April 10th, 2015 (but he has handed his baby over to another great and highly-respected Italian hotelier, Mauro Governato, who was with Four Seasons for years and years before briefly defecting to head Sir Rocco Forte‘s Hotel de Russie). Mauro Governato will handle this luxury hotel with just as much passion as his predecessor, day in and day out. Now, of course, he is extra busy, with Milan’s World Expo, that runs through October.

Looking up at the 114's ceiling

Looking up at the 114’s ceiling

Every visit back to Four Seasons Milano is a reminder of the past, of the days six centuries ago when it was the Convento della Santa Maria del Gesu. How the nuns must have enjoyed the calm of the building, with its cloister courtyard. Today there are still reminders of the 15th century frescoes, in the lobby and, in the case of room 114, on the ceiling. Like all the hotel’s 118 rooms, this is peaceful and serene, a harmony of creams and woods.   I arrive early evening, and order a simple spaghetti with fresh tomatoes. My meal comes on a table floating with crisp white linens, and fresh flowers.

Flowers in the bathroom

Flowers in the bathroom

There are flowers in the bathroom too, and not any-old-flowers, but an art display. I am here to talk to Vincenzo Finizzola about the hotel as it was when it opened, and as it is today. He has added a spa, with an indoor pool, and he has been adding right up to his last day. One of his last additions was a pair of outrageously-brash multi-coloured human-form sculptures, by Dario Tironi. Somehow they are so out of place in all this calm that actually, if that is not a contradiction, they fit in. Oh that is so Italian…

Vincenzo Finizzola and Carlo Stragiotto

Vincenzo Finizzola and Carlo Stragiotto

No wonder the whole world loves coming to Italy. It is not only the pasta and tomatoes but the charm of the people. I try to creep out of the luxury hotel’s main front door, on via Gesu, when I leave, but it is not to be. Not only Vincenzo Finizzola but his long-time deputy, Carlo Stragiotto (shortly moving to UAE to open the second Four Seasons in Dubai), appear by magic to say goodbye, and come back soon.