Hella comes from a family of journalists who wrote for a Dutch indipendent newspaper.
Her father came from Surinam, a South American country and a Dutch colony which was under dictatorship at the time. In 1982 the dictatorial government killed 12 people of the intelligentsia and half of the population of Surinam fled to the Netherlands. The Weekkrant wrote against the government of Surinam. The dictatorship, offended by the negative articles, organized an attack against the newspaper and killed four musicians who were present at the editorial office.
For me it was a shattered dream, I truly believed in free and indipendent journalism. After these dramatic events, I came back to Malcesine in 1985, for another summer season. I needed to keep my distance to decide what to do and then I stopped here.
My father worked as a tourist guide, he came to Malcesine for the first time in 1956.
Via Panoramica didn't exist and you could reach the uphill hotels on a donkey's back following the steep Via Creve.
In 1956, during the summer, my father came with one of his groups. Hanny took part to this tour and fell in love with Giannino Saglia, the primary school teacher. They got married the following year.
I was born in 1960 and I have always been on holiday in Malcesine, at Hanny's house, on Dos del Pis.
When I was a student at the University, I used to come here for the summer season. I have some unforgettable summer memories of a town which was not developed yet.
What do you used to do in Malcesine?
I used to work as a waitress and as a shop assistant.
I have lived the most intense moments of my life in Malcesine: the first kisses, the first parties, friendships, spaghetti meals with some friends, day trips in the mountains, bike tours... My first times were all in Malcesine. I have always felt well.
The town was full of artisans, street artists and small shops: values to be preserved.In 1985 I met Gabriele and I decided no to leave to stay with him.
In 1991 I gave birth to my daughter Alba and in 1995 we started running a restaurant-pizzeria located in piazza Cavour called Cavour.
Gabriele used to run the "Circolo", a nightspot situated at the old port.
Our daily schedule was quite flexibile and he used to go sailing during the afternoon. Tell us about yourself and about Santo Cielo, the club you run in Malcesine.
I have run Santo Cielo since 2000, when Gabriele and me broke up.
I work and live in the town centre, in Piazza Turazza, the most beautiful little square in Malcesine.
I used to spend the evenings in this little square with my family, when I was a child.
My pub is a mixture between a Dutch Bruin Café and a Mediterranean tapas bar.You can have a bite to eat at any time of day, all kind of people gather here, from foreigns to people living in Malcesine.
I like to engage people from different generations, making music and put different nationalities together.My pub is open all year round and I have some loyal customers, even the children of people coming at the pizzeria restaurant 20 years ago.
What do you like the most of living in Malcesine?
I live a stress-free life here.The landscape, the nature, the colours and the different seasons alternating make me feel fine.
You don't need to have much to be happy in Malcesine. Sitting on the sofa reading a book, looking out of the window and seing where you are is enough.
I love people who come to Malcesine to practice a sport, I love when I see young people who live the town as I did when I was their age.
Athletic people are a good example of how to live this place fully.
The town centre is a pedestrian area and we all know each other. There are also foreign people coming to visit us, some of them come here for or three times a year.
People come to Malcesine and feel like home.When I'm in Amsterdam I miss Malcesine and I want to come back.
Everytime I live, I start to breathe again the moment I am able to see the lake from above.