Part of the history of Capri’s hospitality industry transpires in the magical atmosphere of Hotel Gatto Bianco. It was back in the mid 19th century that the Esposito family first began to offer hospitality to visitors to the island, welcoming a steady flow of poets and writers whose works were soon to make Capri famous throughout the world. Carmela Esposito, muse of painters such as Christian Wilheim Allers and the writer W.Trede, was the progenitor of five generations of hoteliers and restaurateurs.
A romantic tale lies behind the name of the Hotel Gatto Bianco.
Perhaps brothers Giuseppe, Giovanni and Tonino Esposito chose to name the hotel-restaurant Gatto Bianco because they knew how to read those signs which destiny so often places before us.
Walking through the lemon grove where the hotel was to be built, they came across a white cat which had given birth to three white kittens. In addition, on the day they were due to sign the papers for the purchase of the land, a white cat snuggled up on the bed in which their ailing father was resting.
Dulcis in fundo: the solicitor involved in the sale was called Scannagatti (catkiller).
Who knows if they were aware that the name Gatto Bianco was already part of the tourist and literary history of Via Vittorio Emanuele, once called Via Hohenzollern. The first literary coffee bar of Capri was the "Zum Kater Hiddigeigei", named in honour of Hiddigeigei, the charmingly lazy feline protagonist of Victor von Scheffel's para-philosophical work "the Trumpeter of Sackingen".
From its opening, Hotel Gatto Bianco immediately provided the ideal stage for the glamorous Dolce Vita Caprese. King Farouk, King Edward, actors such as Totò, Sofia Loren, Clark Gable, and Jack Lemmon, the beautiful Brigette Bardot, Jacqueline Kennedy and Leni Riefenstahl, have all graced its elegant rooms with their presence.
Perhaps the real secret of this hotel is that each and every guest who stays here is awarded star treatment, and leaves with memories of Capri and the Gatto Bianco to cherish forever after.