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Ritratto della Contessa Cornelia Rossi Martinetti, dipinto da Francois Baron Gerard, eseguito nel 1812 ( Christie's New York) The building was constructed by Conte Giovanni Rossi in the first half of the 18th century. As we are told in chronicles written at the time, the count "..built the most beautiful building in all of Lugo, on a site where four houses had previously stood, opposite the Agostinian Monastery."

During the second half of the following century, the building was bought by a Jewish family and as a result was divided up into several dwellings until 1952 when it was finally converted into a hotel. Since then, the Ala D'Oro has been managed with unstinting passion by the Nostri family.

The birth of Contessa Cornelia Rossi Martinetti on January 20th 1781 is commemorated on a plaque at the entrance to the building "..by noble lughese family who was such a brilliant and desired host that the most illustrious men of the century, not just in Italy but in all of Europe, gathered in her home." After her marriage to Giovanni Battista Martinetti di Bologna, the Contessa hosted, in her homes in Bologna and Rome, one of the most important literary groups of the early 19th century.
Her guests included Giacomo Leopardi, Ugo Foscolo (who serenaded her as the high priestess of words that swell the soul, in the poem "Le Grazie" - The Graces ) Antonio Canova, Gioacchino Rossini, Vincenzo Monti, George Byron and many more. Leopardi described her as " the most gentle mannered woman in Italy." Foscolo, hopelessly in love with her, described her as "the most dangerous woman I have ever set eyes on" upset by the "sad softness of those beatiful eyes beneath the silky blackness of her brow."
Regarded as a "goddess" by Monti, "Revered brunette" and "Beautiful sourceress" by numorous guests in her wonderful Bolognese garden, the opinion of her dear friend Lady Sidney Morgan perhaps suited her best of all- "Beautiful, spiritual and most wise."
"...The tourist or traveller who reaches Lugo, and stays at the Ala D' Oro, must endure the charm of this feminine figure and be taken back in time, retracing the steps of Cornelia Rossi Martinetti, the well known lughese aristocrat, who upheld, with grace and intelligence, a cultural role in european society between the 1700's and the 1800's. It is easy, therefore, in the renovated grandeur of The Ala D'Oro, to feel the erstwhile splendour of the Conti Rossi home; the delightful conversation coupled with warm hospitality, representing the continuity of a fine lughese tradition and symbolizing not only the changes, but also the everlasting bond which unites the past and the present."
(from "Cornelia Rossi Martinetti, a noble woman of Lugo between the time of Napoleon and the Risorgimento" by L.C. Montanari).