Hospitality with a smile, since 1968

50 years of experience of the Gradara family: a guarantee of attention and availability, the real added value to a holiday in Bellaria

I was just 7 years old, when my parents, Pina and Adamo, decided to purchase a land directly on the beach to build a hotel. Since I can remember, my holidays lasted 4 months. I was always surrounded by new people, and every week I played with different friends, many of which were German or French, and, you know, the language of playing is universal, and a smile was enough to understand each other.

It was 1968 when the Universal Hotel*** opened for its first summer season. I remember that only the first 3 floors were completed, while the remaining 3 were still under construction. Mum and dad were already seasoned hoteliers, and they managed with love and passion the Gradara Hotel, also on the beach, a short distance away. I remember being proud that a hotel had our family name…

When it was time to come up with a name of what would become the Universal Hotel***, in a time without the Internet and image consultants, we all sat down at the table, and, browsing through the White Pages of the time, we got a sense of the names that had already been used in the city, in order to avoid them. My mum came up with the name “Universal”. For her and our family, our hotel should be a place where people with different backgrounds and nationality would meet. Many years have gone by, and, with me, our family and our unbelievable passion has grown.

They are the smile that welcomes you when you arrive…. My husband, Luciano, the quiet person you see behind the kitchen doors, and appreciate even more in our dishes that he makes every day with our amazing cook… My son Lucio, the good and genuine person who will chat with you till night, but who will also be there when you wake up, taking care of ordinary maintenance tasks…. My son Fabio, the sunny and vibrant person who will wait for you on the beach with open arms and make your days more cheerful; he’ll be your laugh, card game and ping-pong companion… and my sweet nephews Bianca and Allegra, who cheer up my day, between one check-in and the next, in them I see the same light of happiness and enthusiasm that 7 year old girl had in her eyes…


  • Did you know that, until the 2000, we had set up a TV room for all our Italian guests in our basement, because foreigners, in the golden days of Italian soccer, did not want to hear the happy screams for our sports victories?
  • Did you know that the staircase leading to the upper floors used to be closed off every evening around 11 PM, to allow all the guests to rest quietly, and prevent the foreign guests from staying in the hall until sunrise, sipping beer and playing cards?
  • Did you know that the swimming pool and porch were added in a refurbishment almost 20 years after the hotel had opened?
  • Did you know that my son Lucio, when he was just 2 months, received a stuffed animal – the dog Fuffy – from one of our beloved guests, and he would keep it with him at all times? So much that the following season we kindly asked him to bring another one, in case “something happened” to the dead Fuffy.
  • Did you know that our most loyal guests have been coming here for 4 generations?
  • Did you know that we learn approximately 800 different names during a season, because we love calling you by name?