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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

History: Lido Carciano - How It Once Was



I am absolutely fascinated by this set of postcards depicting the Lido at Carciano. The images, including some renderings, are from the beginning of the 1900s to just before WWII. They show a Lido you may not have known had existed; a wonderland of a beach, with so many attractions and a dream of a restaurant, suspended high above the lake on stilts. Take a look at what you would have seen and done if you had visited around 1920. All the pictures have been copied from the blog Archivio Iconografico del Verbano Cusio Ossola, with the captions as they were presented, auto-translated into English. There is Isola Bella, unchanged, and perhaps you can spot other familiar landmarks in the area, such as the granite quarry on the Baveno mountain, to place where you are. 
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Here's the description, auto-translated into English, from the blog post:

The Lido di Stresa, as evidenced by the large number of images, survived many years at the spa arsenic. A wooden walkway for berthing of vessels leaned into the lake and ended with a round pagoda on stilts, which housed the restaurant. At the Lido was docked The Snail Carlo Emanuele Basile. Then there were the beach, located the platform for heliotherapy with the floating pool, a trampoline high, a water slide and the airport for seaplanes, Forlanini where he made his first tests. It happened also a disaster: a French tourist died hit by a skate during the landing of a seaplane. There were tennis courts, facilities for outdoor sports, courses in canoeing, fishing competitions and shooting. Again in 1954, the Lido di Stresa was quoted in the guide Villeggiature foothills of the Alps and pre-alpine lakes, as suited to boating, swimming races, water ski school and racing. The Lido is no more, but many cards, both black and white, and colored, they tell us how it was.

The images have been curated and collected by Archivio del verbano cusio ossola. The blog can be translated into English, and is a good place to get lost for some time if you enjoy looking through old photographs at how things and places once were.

Today in this area we find the restaurant L'idrovolante, the public swimming pool and beach Baia Rosa, the Mottarone Cablecar, the Carciano parking lot and boat dock, and the bicycle rental shop. So, the Lido has retained its function as an entertainment and gathering center. But still... it wasn't even that long ago that it looked completely different, just so elegant and magical, and part of me wishes those facilities had survived to this day. Especially that restaurant up on the stilts.

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