Roberto E. Wirth, President and Managing Director of the Hassler Roma, is the 5th generation of a famous dynasty of Swiss hoteliers.
The dynasty began with Franz-Josef Bucher, now considered one of the pioneers of the hotel industry in Europe. In the 1870s, Bucher bought and developed the Trittalp area of Switzerland, previously remote and inaccessible. Within a couple of years, he built several hotels in addition to the Hammetschwand, still the highest chair-lift in Europe, and the Burgenstock railway.
In 1890, he sent his son-in-law, Heinrich Wirth, to Rome to become manager of the Hotel Minerva. There began the Wirth family's historical ties with Rome. Heinrich Wirth's son, Oscar, joined the Hotel Hassler in 1921 and became the partner of another Swiss Hotelier, Mr. Hassler, and later the owner of the prestigious hotel.
In 1939, Oscar demolished the building almost entirely in order to rebuild it. After the hotel was requisitioned by the US Air Force to serve as their Rome headquarters during World War II, the new Hassler was finally opened to the public in 1947.
In 1950, Roberto, the first son of Oscar and his wife Carmen, was born in Rome. Today, Roberto overlooks this entire luxury Rome hotel's operation, having led the hotel to its position as one of Europe's top luxury hotels and the preferred destination for society's elite and world travelers.
As the Hassler’s Managing Director, Roberto has accepted various invitations to participate in gourmet festivals around the world. He is also a consultant for various important restaurants abroad, including the Italian restaurants “Travertino” of the Oberoi hotel New Delhi, and “Vetro” of the Oberoi Mumbai.
Since Roberto Wirth was born profoundly deaf, he has been very active in various associations for the deaf in addition to founding CABSS (Assistance Center for Deaf and Deafblind Children), a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting deaf and deafblind children, and their families. The association focuses in particular on children from birth to six years and works with projects that promote an adequate cognitive, emotional, social, linguistic and communicative development, that allows children to fully express their personality.
He is also owner of Il Palazzetto, a charming 16th-century building overlooking Spanish Steps and a few minutes from the Hassler, which is a hotel with four rooms, a wine bar and private event space.
Roberto Wirth is currently President of the Spanish Steps Association, representing business owners who operate in the area of the Spanish Steps and Trinità dei Monti.
In November 2005 he received the "Independent Hotelier of the World" award by Hotels magazine, which he in turn dedicated to his native city of Rome, delivering it into the hands of Rome’s then-Mayor Veltroni in a private ceremony held at the Hassler.
In February 2006 he was awarded the Prize for Economic Achievement by Rome’s City Government (Premio Campidoglio per l’Economia) in an event presided by the city’s mayor.
In March 2006 he received the "Marco Aurelio prize for Tourism" from the then-Vice Mayor of Rome, Mariapia Garavaglia, which highlighted his contribution to tourism and therefore the economic and social life of the Capital.
In May 2006 he received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Lynn University, Boca Raton, Florida and in May 2009 he received a further Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters from Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC.
He is also one of the 8 deaf recipients of the DeafNation Inspiration Award (for Hotel Hospitality) in August 2012 in Las Vegas, the first edition of what will be an important international annual appointment. In Nov. 2014 he was awarded the “Leading Legend Award” by The Leading Hotels of the World, for his commitment to the art of independent hospitality.
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The Bucher-Wirth Family History Book