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Rudolf Keller: a firm believer in the healing powers of the sun

Rudolf Keller's family has been promoting a healthy lifestyle in Ticino since 1914


Rudolf Keller's family has been running a health clinic in Ticino since 1914, when his grandfather, Adolf, opened a sanatorium in Cademario. In those early days, Adolf would carry on his back patients who were unable to make the climb up to the clinic.

"We come originally from the Thurgau region, and I represent the 18th generation of Kellers. My father was born here at the sanatorium and - despite my name - I am and feel Ticinese.

My grandfather was known locally as "Keller il vecchio" (Keller the elder). He came to Ticino in 1910 and explored the area on foot, searching for a place to build a sanatorium. He believed in the curative powers of sunshine. At that time, no one had even dreamed of a hole in the ozone layer.

He wasn't well off - his parents were cheese-makers - but he was helped by people who believed in the disciplined way of life he advocated. He was strict, imposing a vegetarian diet, no alcohol and plenty of direct contact with sunshine and the mountain air.

He was a charismatic personality, with extraordinary powers of healing. His standards were incredibly high, although he had to relax them a little in response to the demands of the market. He was a real pioneer: he built the first swimming pool in Ticino.

As director of the Kurhaus, I've also had to adapt to the times. I've built my own swimming pool - enclosed by sliding glass panels - 850 metres above Lake Lugano and the Gulf of Agno.

Since the death of my grandfather, it hasn't always been easy to keep alive the philosophy of "heal the body and the mind" and continue to attract a clientele. Now, besides the medical treatments, the hotel offers wellness therapy and the opportunity to enjoy a good holiday.

Sometimes I wonder what my grandfather would think if he could see the indoor swimming pool and the piano bar. Would he be pleased? I honestly don't know.

Perhaps my two sons will answer that one. One is studying hotel management. I'm pleased he's made this decision: we need to help people working in tourism, especially here. Ticino is a wonderful place. We have breath-taking landscapes, lakes, mountains and woodland. It's impossible not to fall in love with Ticino.

Rudolf Keller


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