The Hotel de Russie and the death of Rosa Cork: an unworthy end under the bombs

by Francesco Li Volti

In via Santa Lucia, at number 82, it had been stationed since 1826 the Hotel de Russie. Bello, known throughout Europe, its name derives from the fact that in 1700 the palace housed the residence of the plenipotentiary minister of Russia in the Kingdom, Count Swawronsky. Also on the same street was the consulate of Russia, a little further on, at number 98.

The luxury, the opulence that it was possible to touch with your own hands, among the many international figures who stayed at the Hotel de Russie, also Giuseppe Verdi. Unfortunately today the hotel building is no longer there: it will be completely destroyed by the bombing of 13 September 1943, with its many guests inside, including Variety singer Lia Flirt, the famous for all Pink Cork.

L'Hotel de Russie e la morte di Rosa Cork: una fine indegna sotto le bombe
Hotel de Russie advertising, photo by Luigi Oly of the Facebook group Naples Retro

Rosa Cork: life, hopes and death at the Hotel de Russie

For those who don't know Pink Cork she was a very famous artist throughout Naples and Campania, and her shows were in great demand throughout the South. We could compare it to a Serena Rossi or a contemporary Belen Rodriguez, just to convey the idea of the heavyweight we are about to talk about.

Born in 1908 a Udine, the beautiful and talented Pink Cork in reality was calling Lia Flirt. The name change took place once she settled in Naples, following a show at the Sannazzaro Theater. He immediately fell in love with the warmth and passion of the Neapolitans, the breathtaking views, the nightlife. He decided to stay at the Hotel de Russie, which already housed the journalist's apartments Achille Vesce and the photographer Ferdinando Lembo.

In 1931 came the well-deserved success, when Libero Bovio he hired her for "Saint Lucia", to the Politeama Theater. Right here she became the lead singer, gaining so much favor from the public that Armando Gill he hired her as the first woman in his Musical Company of Weapons, performing at the Ideal theater with the show Variety.

But it was in 1938 that the unthinkable happened: Totò he chose it to make his debut at the Augusteo Theater in the magazine "In case of bis" to the Augusteo Theater of Naples. The show is particularly interesting because it bears the signature of Totò, who makes his debut as an author for the first time. “In case of bis” is a sparkling magazine in one act and eight pictures. With Lia Flirt they complete the cast Elena Cannio, Liber Priss e Nora and the Zait.

Its last appearance takes place on 21 September 1942, with participation in the first hearing of Piedigrotta Festival organized by Achito Luca. Last because on the evening of 13 September 1943, due to a terrible aerial bombardment, Rosa Cork was killed in her sleep, along with a hundred victims. The bombs hit the area of Santa Lucia and Lia, she will lose her life crushed by the collapse of the building. The body will be found in the rubble, while the head was never found again.

L'Hotel de Russie e la morte di Rosa Cork: una fine indegna sotto le bombe
Hotel de Russie, Giorgio Sommer


Andrea Jelardi, Streets, characters and stories of Naples, from Posillipo to Toledo, Alfredo Guida Editore

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