The name of the “ Grand Hotel Terme”, symbol of the celebrity reached by Levico Terme at the beginning of the century, is closely linked to the person of Giulio Adriano Pollacsek. He came from Berlin Charlottenburg, obtained a university degree in philosophy and became a skilful entrepreneur and business man. He foresaw the potentialities of Levico’s hot springs and arrived in the small town in 1884, the same year in which the Austrian emperor Francis Joseph raised Levico to the city rank.
In 1896 the first Valsugana railway-line was inaugurated and this gave renewed impetus to Pollacsek’s plans: he started to think about a new spa centre to be built inside a luxury hotel, surrounded by a big park and linked to the railway station through a broad avenue.
His aim was to make out of Levico an international health resort.
On the 15th November 1898 the works for the construction of the thermal baths, of Grand Hotel and of the Park ( obtained out of 12 hectares of land) began. The park was designed and realised by Giorgio Zill, a skilful gardener, who came from Berlin together with Pollacsek. Big plants, coming from Austrian tree nurseries, were carried on the train up to Levico Terme and rested there. After 8 months from the beginning of the works, brickworks were brought to an end during the summer of 1899. On the 12th June 1900, the archduke of Austria, Eugene, was the first who visited the new factory and the hotel.
On the 16th June the new thermal baths were officially inaugurated, together with the Grand Hotel, the Park the management villa. Newspapers of that time inform us that special, first-class trips were organised with departures in Vienna and Berlin for the inauguration’s guests, who were welcomed in Levico by the musical band, lodged in the Grand Hotel and offered a dinner in the new restaurant, accompanied by a concert.
The Grand Hotel soon became one of the best tourism structures at European level. The spa was furnished with rooms for thermal baths, hydrotherapy, Swedish gymnastics, sun baths, hydroelectric baths, electrotherapy and Roentgen therapy. It housed well-equipped medical surgeries and chemical laboratories.
During the years which came before the First World War, the Grand Hotel housed many guests coming not only from Tyrol and from the Austro-Hungarian Kingdom, but also from Russia, England, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Norway, Italian Kingdom, from the
Balkans and even from Northern and Southern America, Egypt, China and Japan. Among the most famous names who visited the hotel we can quote that of the Windischgrätz princess, cousin of Sissi, the archduke Carl Theodor from Bavaria, Albert King of Belgium, the prince von Hohenloe, the Archidukes belonging to the Austrian house and the Rotschild finaciers.
Among the Italian guests were the Borghese and Colonna princes, the prince Ludovico Chigi, the duke Visconti of Modrone and industrial personalities such as Gnecchi, Feltrinelli, Sonzogno from Milan and Rossi from Schio.
During the First World War the Grand Hotel was damaged. After the end of the war, the administration of the thermal facilities and the hotel went in the hands of the Levico’s town council. In 1930 the State intervened and realised 6 years later a new factory in Vetriolo.
During the Second World War from September 1943 to August 1945, as the provinces of Trent, Bolzano and Belluno were under German forces, the Grand Hotel and other hotels in Levico were requisitioned by General Kesserling and used as a General Army Command for war areas in the provinces of Padova, Vicenza and Trent.
As soon as Trentino-Alto Adige became an autonomous region, the thermal facilities became a property of the region, which built a new factory inaugurated in 1965. Since 1973 spa centre and hotel belong to the Autonomous Province of Trent.
In 1984 the Government of the Autonomous Province of Trent decided to let the hotel undergo a process of complete restructuring, in order to bring it back to the ancient magnificence.
The hotel was enlarged and furnished with every comfort, yet it maintained the Liberty Style, which has always represented its typical feature, and which echoes the fascinating “ Bèlle Epoque” atmosphere of the beginning of the century.