It’s a testament to the focused mind and competitive spirit of Antonio Viscardi that he started playing golf at the age of eight and wound up becoming a member of the Italian National Boys Team, from age 14 to 19. But it’s an even greater testament to his focus that he did not then go on to pursue a career in professional golf. To hear him explain it, he didn’t make that big competitive leap because he enjoyed being able to afford to eat! “When I started playing golf on an international level, it quickly became clear to me that if I wanted to have a decent life, I had to go to university and study,” the 40-something Milanese now says with a laugh.
That decent life began with studies at Bocconi University of Milan, where he earned a degree in Economy and Commerce. This led him to the hospitality industry where he worked in the lowest ranks of a large hotel in London—“In order to reach the top you have to start at the bottom and with the basics,” he explains—and then on to an international law firm, even though his father owned two hotels at the time and Antonio could have easily gone to work for him. “I craved a different experience,” says Antonio. “I wasn’t sure what was next for me, but I knew I had to find my own way.” After three years practicing law, that way led him organically back to the hotel business. “I wanted to work for myself. In law I couldn’t do that. You are always thinking about the problems of other people—on weekends, during the night. Now that I work for myself, I still think of problems all the time, but they are my own problems and it’s a pleasure!”
In truth, Antonio is being kind to his younger brother and business partner Tommaso Viscardi: the problems are, in fact, both of theirs. And so are the joys, chief among them now is the rooftop retreat at Hotel Viu Milan, a property they envisioned and built together.“Ours is the first hotel in the city to feature a pool on the roof,” notes Tommaso, who decades earlier also attended University of Bocconi of Milan, receiving a degree in Economy and Business Legislation. Unlike Antonio, Tommaso went to work for his father upon graduating. Today, the two brothers’ efforts complement each other perfectly. “For 18 years we’ve worked together,” says Tommaso. “I’m in charge of the behind-the-scenes aspects and operations, while Antonio focuses more on the design part and the financial elements.”
Both of their many skills come together on that exquisite rooftop. “We didn’t want to create something just for guests, but also a place where we can invite our friends to gather and spend time with us in a unique setting,” says Antonio, who adds that the inspiration for the tranquil rooftop stemmed from a trip he took to Manhattan about 10 years ago. “I stayed at a hotel there and had breakfast in a garden set on the top floor. That experience really stayed with me and I knew that with Hotel Viu Milan, I wanted people to be able to dine and sit around a pool with views of the city.” Indeed, one could say the Viscardi brothers have been sharing their views for ages, first with each other and now with their guests.