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1908 – 1930

November 1908 – the birth of the Windschar

The "Pustertaler Bote" reports on the opening of the newly built Gasthof Windschar by the landlady Maria Harrasser on 24 November 1908. It read: "Many guests had gathered, so that all the restaurants were full. The inn and the hospitality were good and will always be good."


About the First World War and a time of change

The First World War from 1914 to 1918 brought great upheaval to South Tyrol. As a result of Italianisation, the Windschar inn became the "Albergo Stazione". In the following years not only the name changed but also the allocation. The inn remained on the ground floor and the municipal office was established on the upper floor instead of the rooms and living quarters. The inn therefore now had the inscription "Municipio" - in English: Municipal Office.


Landlady Maria’s successor

Maria Harrasser-Hellweger was an ambitious landlady and hostess and wanted to pass this on as well. As a result, Maria and Johann Hellweger’s third eldest grandson, the son of their widowed daughter, was to be the future landlord of the Windschar. Florian Kronbichler, born on 1 May 1913, was actively involved in agriculture on the Wiesemann farm that belonged to the family. There was a large cattle population as well as fields and forests and now the Windschar too. This was a huge challenge for the young Florian, who already had a good education at the time, which would bring him a successful and honourable life with the Wiesemann estate and the Windschar.

1931 – 1980

Florian Kronbichler – landlord, mayor and Cross of Merit holder

Florian Kronbichler had been a landlord and farmer for quite some time, but that was not the end of the story. In his early 30s he was elected almost unanimously as Mayor of Gais after the Sunday service on the church square on 27 May 1945. He was the municipality’s mayor from 1945 to 1974. On 8 December 1975 he was appointed honorary citizen of Gais due to his outstanding service. In 1973 he was awarded the Tyrolean Cross of Merit by the Tyrolean Governor Eduard Wallnöfer in Innsbruck – the highest award for exceptional services for the common good.


Private insights into the life of Florian and his wife Hermine

Florian Kronbichler was 36 years old when he married the merchant's daughter Hermine Steger from San Lorenzo/St. Lorenzen in 1949. She was a very capable woman whose purpose in life was the welfare of her family and her guests. She was also the one who opened a shop with food and all kinds of other things for sale next to the Windschar inn in the annex. She also managed the Wiesemann farm household, which still belonged to the family. Hermine's "office” was also legendary and would amaze many a computer and online freak: from the list of rooms to various order slips and room reservations, Hermine had everything neatly arranged and always had a pencil in her black apron pocket. A mobile office of the time, so to speak. The black apron, like Hermine herself, was legendary; she wore it every single day, even over her Sunday best.


Hermine and Florian’s sons

Hermine and Florian were not lacking in heirs, for their marriage produced four strapping lads. Their son Franz decided to take over the inn, which he managed successfully until 2013, Josef took over the Wiesemann farm including the associated agriculture. Eduard took over the business founded by his mother, which as Despar is still an invitation to shop opposite the hotel today, and Alois, who has a doctorate in economics, is still a well-known tourism consultant with an office in Gais today.

1981 – 2013

Hotel takeover by Franz and Monika

One of Hermine and Florian Kronbichler’s four sons, Franz Kronbichler, took over the management of the Windschar together with his wife Monika in 1981. The inn had grown into a hotel in the meantime. After the wedding to his wife Monika Wanker from Brunico/Bruneck, they divided up the work in the hotel perfectly: Monika devoted herself with warmth and sensitivity to looking after the guests, housekeeping and

the ambience plus interior design and therefore significantly contributed to the hotel’s feel-good character today. Franz, on the other hand, mainly dealt with the administration and financial matters as well as the planning and implementation of all construction work.


Monika and Franz’ children

Their son Hannes, who runs the hotel business today, and the twins Eduard and Sylvia are the family’s pride and joy. And they also made sure that their parents and grandparents could be really proud of them: the sons Hannes and Eduard successfully completed their economic studies in Milan and sister Sylvia received her doctorate in law in Bologna. Today, Eduard has been living and working successfully in the financial sector in Geneva for many years. His twin sister Sylvia, on the other hand, remained loyal to the region and teaches law at the secondary school in Brunico/Bruneck.

2013 – today

Hannes takes over the traditional family legacy in 2013

Before the oldest of the siblings, Hannes Kronbichler, took over the hotel in 2013, he gained important professional experience in a well-known German company operating in the financial sector in Switzerland. This was followed by experience gained at hotels in Kenya, St. Moritz and Stockholm, before heading closer to his South Tyrolean homeland again. These experiences led Hannes to renowned hotels in Austria, one on the Turracherhöhe in Carinthia and the other in the federal capital Vienna. After years of experience abroad, Hannes returned to South Tyrol in 2013 with a great deal of expertise and vision to take over the hotel from his parents Monika and Franz, who went into well-deserved retirement. While his Dad Franz enjoys his free time playing golf and skiing, Mum Monika is happy to assist her son Hannes and takes over some tasks in the hotel, including decorating or coordinating the chambermaids.


About the tried and tested and changes

"The only constant thing in life is change," says a well-known proverb. That’s the case at the Windschar too: changes and renewals are part of the natural development of every business. As standing still means taking a step back. There were many steps from an inn to a 4-star hotel. Hannes has also planned a number of conversions and extensions over the next few years to provide new impetus again so the Hotel Windschar will still be one of the leading and most traditional hotels in the region in another 110 years.


Actively shaping tourism

Hannes has been represented on the board of the South Tyrolean Hoteliers- und Gastwirteverband association since spring 2017, was elected to the executive committee of the Federalberghi national hoteliers association in Rome in summer and has been actively involved in shaping events in South Tyrolean and Italian tourism ever since.


5 of 5 Stars | TripAdvisor