Bonifacio VIII Spa

Place: Fiuggi, Piazzale G. Lucarelli d’Anticoli

AuthorLuigi Moretti

Chronology: 1963 | 1969

Itinerary:  Italy goes on vacation

UseSpa center

The Luigi Moretti complex represents a perfect integration between architecture and natural landscape. It consists of several volumes that adhere to the area’s mountain geography, characterized by a slope covered by a forest of chestnut woods.

A pedestrian path leads from the entrance to the central mixed-use area. The avenue ends in a space protected by a thin trapezoidal roof that the architect has called “Arab tent” both for its shape and for the use for which it was designed: shelter from the sun.

Along the central axis is a promenade marked by a double row of trees and bounded on both sides by linear buildings that house the shops and services. In front of them are placed two porticoes that offer users a large shaded area.

The arcades are very interesting elements both from formal and structural points of view. Each consists of a sequence of thin curved surfaces, which look like sails at the mercy of the wind. Such a reduced thickness is possible thanks to the use of a series of pre-compressed reinforced concrete beams aligned on the outer vault. Among the arcades and the shops’ low volumes is a detachment that allows the view of nature to resurface along the way.

The “Arab tent” is a reinforced concrete roof that, resting on four large pillars, takes shape as if it were a fabric: it bends on the long sides and curves in the middle. To produce this effect, the architect set a series of beams into the outer vault. From here you enter the closed spaces for winter treatments or, through a long staircase, the upper level.

A long staircase leads to a terrace covered by a circular roof, an inverted dome pierced in the middle, commonly called the “Rotonda”. Its shape and central opening recall the Pantheon or the ancient Roman baths.

The “Rotonda” is for outdoor drinks service. The opening in its cover serves as an impluvium to collect water in the tank below.

The open-air space extends into a series of other circular terraces that cover the rooms for winter drinks service. From these terraces you can enjoy the beautiful surrounding landscape.

The spa complex designed by Luigi Moretti is a piece of architecture conceived as a path with a great scenographic backdrop, articulated on several levels connected by a straight staircase and by two curved side staircases. The circular shapes that characterize the volumes, the roofs and the stairs, makes the whole complex extremely dynamic and perfectly set into the natural context.  

Text Gianpaola Spirito
Photos by Alessandro Lanzetta