Pierino Ambrosoli (1905–1975)


In 1883, Pierino Ambrosoli's grandfather Pietro from Lavena Ponte Teresa (Italy) came to Locarno with his son Domenico, as the family business had been commissioned to renovate the roof of the Sant’Antonio church. As a result, the whole Ambrosoli family settled permanently in Locarno, where later, especially Domenico's sons Enrico and Edoardo proved themselves to be pioneers in mechanical engineering businesses, specializing in the repair and sale of sewing machines, bicycles and later the first motor vehicles. The two brothers together opened a shop and a workshop on the Piazza Grande, but it was Enrico, Pierino Ambrosoli's father, who develops the business and makes the first real estate investments with the purchase of two properties at the end of the Piazza Grande. Enrico owned one of the first (if not the very first) motor vehicles in Locarno as early as 1898 and he was also the first Ticino driving examiner to issue driving licenses. 

His son Pierino (born in 1905, naturalized in Switzerland in 1912), after graduating from high school in Locarno, first studied languages in Schwyz, then economics and commerce in St. Gallen and finally technical engineering in Mittweiden (Germany). From the end of the 1920’s, Pierino stayed with his brother Giannetto (1904–1983) in Paris, where their father Enrico was now co-owner of a motorcar repair shop. In 1929, the Ambrosoli brothers returned to Locarno and take over the management of the family business from their father. In the 1930’s, they also open a branch in Zurich, which, however, ceases its business activities during the war. During this time, the Swiss Army needed a large number of military vehicles. As the Swiss general agent for the American automobile manufacturer General Motors, Pierino and Giannetto rent out 60 jeeps and several cars to the army, which they get back in excellent condition at the end of the war and can therefore easily be resold to private individuals. In 1946, the new headquarters of the company "Fratelli Ambrosoli" is inaugurated in the renowned St. Peterstrasse in Zurich.

The success of Pierino Ambrosoli is therefore linked to a special historical period, the time between the two world wars. A favourable moment for those who knew how to use the resulting opportunities. Thanks to his excellent entrepreneurship, Pierino made a considerable fortune in the automotive and real estate sectors.

When a diversification of investments was necessary in the post-war period due to the economic boom, Pierino, following a genius inspiration, prompted the investment into hotels and real estate. In 1941, Pierino built the “Lido Kursaal” in Ascona, in 1957 he acquired a piece of land with a sand pit on the Maggia Delta in Locarno and inaugurated the “Camping Delta”. In the following years he built the “Park Hotel Delta” (1962) in Locarno, but to the right of the Maggia river. In Ascona the “Hotel Eden Roc” (1971) and in Via Borgo in Ascona the “Piazzetta Ambrosoli”. All of these various initiatives contributed significantly to the development of tourism in the region of Ascona and Locarno.

During the 1940’s, Pierino lived with his first wife, the former German expression dancer Sonja Bragowa and their daughter Daniela in the Casa Abbondio in Ascona, which he restored in 1945 and renamed “Le Delizie”. Later in the 1960s he moved into the "Villa Delta" next to the Park Hotel Delta in Ascona together with his second wife Tildy and daughter Barbara. Pierino always clearly showed his great love for the region of Locarno. This is evidenced by significant donations such as to the La Carità hospital in Locarno, the Football Club Locarno, the Unione Sportiva Ascona and numerous scholarships for high school students from the famous Collegio Papio in Ascona.