The history of the Grotto
The history of Grotto Flora begins in September 1920 when Flora Wolf, originally from Val Calanca, opened a cosy, rustic taverna, or grotto, with her husband Alberto Bettosini (born in Agra) in the beautiful village of Agra on the sunny Collina d’Oro, or, to be more precise, in the hamlet of Bigogno.
Local wines and sodas sipped in the shade of the plants, accompanied by local cured meat and cheeses, provided customers with great pleasure and refreshment.
Over the years, customers increased in number and so their business is moved inside the building that houses Grotto Flora to this day.
As in the beginning, home-cured meat and large oven-baked casseroles with polenta cooked in the fireplace are the specialities offered to their customers.
Flora and Alberto had five children:Armida, Silvio, Lucia, Olga and Alberto. They grew up and left home in search of love. All except one:Silvio.
Born in summer 1922, Silvio Bettosini purchased the Grotto from his parents and made it his mission starting in 1942.
This became even more exciting and demanding when he married his beloved Käthe, a young German woman who had fled the war and become housekeeper to a rich lady, Mrs Valz, who lived next to the Grotto.
From 1950 to 1985, Silvio and Käthe worked hard to win over local and transalpine customers. The traditional menu included a starter of cured meat and pickles, risotto with porcini mushrooms and saffron, and grilled meat. On special days, Käthe would roast a piglet and potatoes for hours in the oven. All strictly home-made!
Silvio prepared one of the first grilled chickens on the hill and everyone was crazy about it!
In turn, Käthe and Silvio had five children:
Silvia, Carlo, Flora, Claudio and Aldo.
This generation of sons helped Silvio in his work outside and the daughters assisted Käthe with the housework.
Gradually, the children left their home – all, as in the best fairy tales, bar one:Flora. Flora shared her mother and father's passion and, from 1985, she established the third generation of Grotto Flora together with her husband Nene (Enzo). The menu kept the winning formula popular with customers, who also spanned three generations (grandparents would bring their grandchildren!).
Mixed cured meat, risotto with mushrooms and saffron, grilled meat and zabaglione!
And, as in any self-respecting story, Flora and Enzo also had four children:
Fiorenzo, Tiziana, Graziella and Maurizio.
In 2004, after the children had left home and after completing major renovations, the purchase of the patrician ‘Casa Adamini’ followed.
With great commitment, Flora and Enzo transformed a huge disused building into a large bed and breakfast
comprising nine rooms, each individually and beautifully furnished by Flora.
In 2011, the eldest son, Fiorenzo, joined the Grotto Flora team, bringing with him the experience he had gained in the kitchens of large 5-star hotels, such as Villa Prince Leopold in Gentilino.
Fiorenzo brought a breath of fresh air to Grotto Flora.
A new kitchen and a modern workspace gave Grotto Flora the space needed to produce the essentials for an increasingly sophisticated and demanding clientèle.
In 2016, Fiorenzo left Grotto Flora to immerse himself in a new professional adventure, a grotto of his own: Grotto Zotta in Bioggio.
In response to the growing number of online requests, daughter Graziella joined the team as receptionist at Grotto Flora, after graduating from the hotel school in Bellinzona in 2009.
From here, the adventure continues… WE LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR VISIT!!
See you soon!