In the early 1980s the FILPJ, i.e. the Italian Wrestling, Weightlifting and Judo Federation visited Norcia. At that time our only hotel facility was Hotel Grotta Azzurra, in the historical centre of Norcia. The Federation proposed that we host the national wrestling and judo teams for Los Angeles and Seoul pre-Olympic training. The only covered sports facility was the municipal gym, about 200 m away from the Hotel. We thought it was a great opportunity and endeavoured to do our best to meet requirements in terms of menus, diets and other needs.
During that gathering and those that followed it, we hosted athletes who made the history of Italian wrestling, of the calibre of Giuseppe Maenza, gold medallist at Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, Giovanni Schillaci and Giuseppe Giunta. For judo, Girolamo Giovinazzo. In a certain sense, we feel that those medals are also partly ours.
At the end of the 1980s we started to think that sport might be a significant segment and we hosted the football clubs of Perugia, at the time of a then adolescent Fabrizio Ravanelli, Casertana and Messina, coached at that time by Giuseppe Materazzi.
We had not yet invested in sports facilities but already had the germs of some big ideas in our minds. The facilities used, the grass football pitch and the gym, were those of the Municipality of Norcia.
The FILPJ proposed that we create a federal center for them, complete with sports all, guest quarters or hotel, a body-building gym and ancillary sports services. Norcia would have become their headquarters. The idea intrigued us and we moved into action mode between the late 1980s and early 1990s. Right at Norcia’s gates, about 200 m away from the Porta Romana arch, there was a plot of land that could contain our project. We wanted to create a major hotel, with a sports center, just a stone’s throw away from Norcia.
With much difficult we managed to complete the hotel in about 7 months. After about 11 months the sports hall was completed too, the top one in Umbria in terms of floor area (1,600 sqm).
Shortly after that we received a big slap in the face: the FILPJ, due to new directives of the Italian National Olympic Committee, created its own sports center. After a few instants of consternation,, all the marketing ideas that we had had in mind before the investment turned into concrete actions. We were sure of being able to offer a unique product.
The added value of our center was, and is, undisputable: at that time a hotel with international standards, whirlpool baths in all rooms, air conditioning, minibar, safe, fax link and satellite TV was totally inconceivable. Besides that: the sporting center within the fenced grounds of the Hotel Salicone, the sports hall, full-size grass football pitch, a 5-a-side football pitch and a vast green area.
Building up, year after year, professional capabilities and knowledge of the needs of sports people in all disciplines, we decided to expand our services – first with open-air basketball courts, then with a second 8-aside football pitch and with a sea-sand beach volley pitch, followed by a heated 25-m covered swimming pool and a cardio-fitness gym. Wellness too was starting to become an indispensable requirement, so we added a sauna and Turkish batch to our services.
From the 1980s onwards our “family company” has growth with the efforts and commitment of everyone, staff and owners. 30 years ago many of today’s key people were youngsters who helped to serve in the restaurant.
Today, after some 30 years dedicated to sport, we are proud of having created the Sporting Center. Many sports people are too.