- Tourist office: Palazzo Comunale, Piazza della Libertà, 3 SV ( ITALY )
- Website: www.alassio.eu
- Infoline: +39 0182 64 70 27
The City’s vocation as a tourist destination didn’t end with the English, taking off once again after the Second World War the “dolce vita” era.
In the early 1950s Alassio was a capital of the international highlife: with big names linked to cinema and culture, shows and events at every hour of the day – what a place. The main reason for all of this was the historical Berrino family’s Caffè Roma. It was the meeting point for the jet set on holiday in Alassio or on the Riviera, it was place here to be seen.
In front of the Caffè Roma were passing by dream cars, divas, writers and musicians and painters every day. Here could be found an anonymous small wall so bare that Mario Berrino was anguished by it: “ it was so bare, it was not comparable to vivacity of the passers-by and of the our guest sensibility…
I was anguished about the ida to give to it a bit of elegance, take of a bit of its misery with some kind of ornaments”
And so in 1953 after an encounter with Ernest Hemingway, a regular customer, an idea took shape and become true.
Mario Berrino loved showing his customers his album of autographs of the famous people who had come into his bar; as the years passed the pages filled up with dedications and autographs, it was a shame to keep them hidden away.
That’s why when Hemingway was signing his album, Berrino told him about his idea.
He wanted to put the signatures onto coloured ceramic tiles and decorate the wall with them: “Okay, Mario – the writer exclaimed – Okay, you have to do it”.
He had to start work as soon as possible, so as to avoid any bureaucratic obstacles; at dawn Mario and a group of helpers secretely put up the first three tiles ( made with help of the potter Pacetti): Hemingway, Quartetto Cetra and Cosimo di Ceglie.
The next day nobody complained, and in the following days more tiles were added.
The mayor Torre and everybody else in the city obviously thought that something genius was under way and that it was better just to turn a blind eye.
So that’s how it all started. Today around 1000 tiles can be found on the wall.