Giulio Polegato’s passion for hospitality was ignited in Glion, and it has burned brightly throughout a stellar career in the hotel business. Now Giulio’s outstanding service to the industry has been acknowledged with a rare national honor.

BL022_GL_Giulio_Polegato_Alumni_Maestro_del_LavoroEarlier this year Giulio was appointed ‘Maestro del Lavoro’ (Master of Work), an award bestowed by the President of the Italian Republic and given only to individuals who have truly distinguished themselves in the world of work.

The award admits Giulio to a very exclusive ‘club’. For context, in Giulio’s region of Veneto – home to almost five million citizens – there were only another 71 recipients this year, and just six in the greater Venice area.

“It was a very rigorous process, where my career and achievements were assessed first by the Italian labor office and then by the national government in Rome,” he explains. “It was a thrill to receive the telegram of confirmation from Mr. Di Maio, who is our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development, Labor and Social Policies.”

“Every time you receive a telegram, especially if unexpected, you tend to think that something serious could have happened… after a small moment of hesitation I opened it and found this nice, and exciting, big surprise.

A special event for a special award

Along with Veneto’s other Maestri del Lavoro, Giulio received his certificate and a special medal at a ceremony hosted by Vittorio Zappalorto, the Italian President’s regional representative. “I’m not the kind of person to go around wearing my medal – actually sometimes I feel a little embarrassed with all the attention – but at the same time it’s nice to be recognized for my 32 years working in the hotel business,” he says.

That 32-year career has taken Giulio to five different countries and a host of five-star hotel properties. It’s a journey during which he says he has never stopped learning.

“From every one of my experiences – even the bad ones – I’ve been able to find the positive things that could help me grow as a professional,” he explains.

“There are no positives and negatives, only opportunities that if you are open-minded you can pick up and use in the future.”

Doing good for others

From the outset of his career, Giulio also committed to doing good for wider society. For instance, when in charge of a hotel and public beach complex, he spearheaded the development of dedicated beach access and facilities for wheelchair users; an initiative for which he was presented with another national award: the Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2012.

Now Giulio is preparing for his latest professional challenge, as General Manager of a brand new luxury resort property located in Pinzolo, a village in the Dolomites very close to Madonna di Campiglio, the internationally-famous ski area. Due to open in August this year, the five-star Lefay Resort & Spa Dolomiti is the second such resort developed by Lefay Resorts, a family-owned hospitality business.

“This will be a fantastic adventure, because opening a resort of this size could completely change the futures of people in our surrounding communities,” he says. “We aim to become an integral part of life here, sponsoring events and social initiatives and offering the potential for year-round employment to hospitality professionals who’ve previously only had seasonal options.

“Last but not least, the resort’s focus on sustainability was a big part of why I chose to come here. The property will generate almost all its own power, with very reduced emissions, plus we will contribute to tree-planting to offset our emissions. In addition, we’re sourcing our food locally and committing to very exacting recycling targets.

“I’m really excited by this new project, and the opportunity to bring my experience to building things up from scratch. It’s so good that the hospitality industry gives you these chances to make your mark.”

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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