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Famous Personages


Political personalities (chronological order)

Vittorio Amedeo II (Torino 14/5/1666 - Rivoli 30/10/1732): Vittorio Amedeo II was the 15th duke of Savoy. Born from the second wedding of Carlo Emanuele II with the princess Maria Giovanna Battista of Savoy, in the year of of his father's death, 1675, arose under the regency of his mother until his 18th birthday.

After the Treaty of Utrecht, strong after the results of the battle following the War of Spanish succession, he bacame (1713-1718) the king of Sicily, that is until the birth of the Sardinia's kingdom, where he was king until his abdication in 1730.

He got married with Anna D'Orleans, Luis XIV's sister, and from their marriage six sons were born, such as Carlo Emanuele III, Maria Luisa Gabriella (future wife of the king of Spain Philp V) and Maria Adelaide, who married the duke of Borgogna and became the mother of the King of France Luis XV. Afterwards, he married in a second wedding Anna Canalis of Cumiana.

Vittorio Amedeo II was a high-profil figure in the political and militar renovation of the sabaud peerage; he formed an alliance with Austria against France during the Spanish succession War, together with his cousin Eugenio of Savoy rescued in 1706 the town of Turin besieged (see Siege of Turin in History of the town). To celebrate the victory, he ordered to build the Superga Basilica, where he will be buried.

With the peace sanctioned in Utrecht he achieved, besides Sicily, important territories (Monferrato, Lomellina and Novarese). In national politics he made important reforms concerning the scholastic system and the state and tax office administration; moreover he limited the Church powers. He was forced to abdicate in 1730 in favour of his son Carlo Emanuele III and retired in the castle of Rivoli, where he died two years later.

Pietro Micca (Sagliano, Biella, 6th March 1677 - Turin 30th Agoust 1706): he is the miner who in 1706 became the Hero of Turin; recruited by the Savoys during the Spanish Succession war, he sacrificed his life to stop the French invasion.

Pietro Micca was born in Sagliano d'Andorno (now Sagliano Micca, where the simple house where he lived still exists) on 5th March 1677 and died in Turin in 1706; it was just Pietro's turn, almost three centuries ago, to protect Turin, when he was 29 years old and his occupation was not to be a soldier.

Since two years married, with his one year old son, he was a miner in the Andorno's valley.

Following the maternal family's traditions, Pietro since young learned to work with the stone and became stone-cutter and miner. In July 1703 the sabaud king Vittorio Amedeo II, who had no army, recuited him together with other 20 thousand young boys from piedmont.

His troops were disarmed in the Saint Benedetto Po's plane by the duke of Vendome's army, under the order of the French sovreign Luis XIV and the king needed men to declare war to France and Spain; he knew even that he needed miners who were able to dig tunnels because the battle was surely fought near the citadel.

For this reason, among the 20 thousand new soldiers, he chosed fifty miners and there was also Pietro Micca.

As miner, he was used to work underground, and therefore he was destinated to the troops assigned to defend Turin fortress underground the galleries, which the French tried to violate many times.

In the enlistment register, besides his surname, there was his nickname: Passepartout. In that period the fact to add a nickname was not only a custom, but more a practical necessity: in the valley from which Pietro Micca came, the surnames were almost all the same.

During the night between 29th and 30th August 1706, during the siege of Turin by the French army, the enemies entered in one of the underground galleries of the Citadel, killing the sentries and trying to kick in one of the door which got inside.

Pietro Micca was on guard at one of this doors together with a comrade in arms. The two soldiers heard shots and understood that they could not resist lengthy: for this reason they decided to pop gun powder (a 20 chilogramm jar put in a gallery ravine named "high capital"; but they could not use a long fuse because it implied too much time to brust the powders, so Micca decided to use a short fuse, concious of the risks he would have run. Instinctively he expelled his companion (with a sentence which became famous: "Stand up, go and save yourself because you are longer than a day without bread") and without hesitate he seted fire to the powders running towards the stairs which brought to the surface.

Unfortunately the patriot's body was found lifeless at fourty steps of distance, where he was thrown by the airflow because of the explosion.

The stairs' location where the heroical act happened was situated only in 1958 thanks to the researches of Guido Amoretti, at that time capitan, now general, passionated archaeologist and expert of the history of Turin. The conception of the Pietro Micca Museum and of Turin's siege in 1706 is due to him.



Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour (Turin, 10/8/1810 - Turin, 6/6/1861): maybe the most important inhabitant of Turin is one of the greatest craftsmen of the national union and the first minister of Vittorio Emanuele II. He was called "the weaver" because of his nefarious political gifts. Born in 1810 in Turin, Liberal aristocrat, he travelled often abroad, studying the economical development of the most industrially advanced European countries, such as France and Great Britain, gathering informations on technological innovations.

He appeared in the Piedmont political scene in 1948 as founder of the review "Il Risorgimento", liberal and moderated heading. Elected Member of Parliament in the same year, in the first Parliament of 1948, then he was elected minister and from 1852 to 1859 he became the head of Piedmont Government.

Cavour inmediately understood, thanks to his knowledge, that any weak or backward state would have been able to decide for its own fate and that therefore it was necessary to do some liberal reforms. But this is not enough: it was necessary to prompt the industialization way, already covered by the great European power and the sabaud kingdom was really in delay.

He order to build irrigation ditches and promoted the profitable rice, wheat, wine farming, considering that a rich and modern agricolture is the base of an industrial development. He facilitated the develpoment of the already existent industries, above all the tessil one, and incited the creation of new ones, such as the steel mills. Understanding that the industries and the trade needed of new infrastructures, he gave a strong impulse to the road and railway network, created worthless the telegraphic network; the trade was made easier in every way and the realization of a real merchant navy made the Genoa's port flourish again.

This politic was possible because in Piemont there was an old tradition of good public administration. The big merit of Cavour was therefore to be able to propose a reform politic which could count on the Piedmont dirigent support. But the little sabaud state still didn't have a sufficient presence on the international political scene; for this reason Cavour struggled with great dipolomatic ability. In 1854 the Crimea's war breaks out: France and Great Britain were allied with Turkey and they fought against Russia, which wanted to expand in the balcanic peninsula. Cavour used the occasion and offered the alliance of Piedmont to France, Great Britain and Turckey, sending to Crimea an army corps. It was not easy to receive the authorization of Turin Parliament, that did not see the reason why have to die Piedmont's soldiers in favour of the Ottoman Empire, in a nation where the Piemont has no interest to defend; but as Cavour explained, taking part to the war besides the winners, the Piemont was included in the negatiation table as ally of two great powers: France and Great Britain.

In 1856, at the Paris Congress, the peace was signed, where also the Austria representant was present. Cavour did not ask any compensation for the participation to the war, but he obtained that a session was dedicated to discuss the Italian problem.

Thanks to this result Cavour could mantain puplicy that the repression of the reactionary governments and the Austria's politic were the real responsible of the revolution anxiety which harboured in the peninsula and that could constitute a threat for the European governments. In this way, the Piedmont had the opportunity to present itself as the only one possible moderated solution to the political instability problem of Italy. In this way, Cavour directed the attention of the European powers to the Italian issue; to achieve success, he would have been able to interest at least one nation.

In 1858, he met Napoleon III, convinced to intervene in favour of the italians also because of the assassination attempt of Felice Orsini, ex mazzinan who, together with some accomplices, on 14th January 1858, had tried to kill the French Emperor, who was hold as resposable of the failure of the revolutional risings of 1848/49, throwing three bombs against his coach, which was arresting in front of the Opera Theater; the assassination attempt caused the death of 8 people and the wounding of 156.
During the meeting, taken place in Plombiéres, Cavour was able to use this episode for convincing Napoleon and in the end a defensive-offensive treat was ratified to the detriment of the Austrian Empire.

In 1859, the Second Indipendence War broke out, which saw on one side France and Piedmont and on the other side Austria. The war led to the annexation of Lombardy, but the French interrupted the war earlier than expected. Cavour presented his resignation as a protest. Although the adversity of Vittorio Emanuele II in 1860 Cavour occupies again the office of Prime Minister.

With skilful political movements, helped by the English Government support, he obtained the recognition of the plebiscites which took place in Tuscany, in the dukedoms of Modena and Parma and in the Papal Legations, for the annexation at the Kingdom of Sardinia.

To keep on having the French support in his attempt, which was to unify the Italian peninsula, he gave Nice and the Savoy up to France. In a not clear way he helped Garibaldi to organize the Expedition of the Thousand, and then, with the pretext to stop this dangerous revolutionary, he obtained the French assent for the occupation of the Papal State, except Rome.
Reached by the sabaud army, Garibaldi gave as a gift the South Italy to Vittorio Emanuele II, leading in this way to a partial reunification of the peninsula. On 17th March 1861 Vittorio Emanuele II was proclaimed king of Italy. Cavour undertook in a great diplomatic work of agreement with the Pope, but before achieving the treats conclusions he died, proprably because of malaria, in the family palace in Turin on 6th June 1861.


Carlo Alberto (Turin, 2/10/1798 - Portugal, 18/7/1849 ): Son of Carlo Emanuele of Savoy, prince of Carignano, and of Albertina Maria Cristina of Sassonia, was born in Turin in 1798, but receives his first education in Geneva and he he studied in Paris, where he received the influence of French political ideas.

Came back in Turin, after Napoleon's downfall, and the restitution of Piedmont to the Savoys, he did not approve the reactional setting given by Vittorio Emanuele.


Friend of the young exponents of Piedmont liberalism, he was aware of the conspiracy which flew into a rising in March 1821. Once he reached the regency, after the abdication of Vittorio Emanuele I and because of the absence of the new king Carlo Felice, he conceded to the rebels the Spanish constitution which they reclaimed (14th March), but straight after he was disowned by Carlo Felice and forced to leave Piedmont.

After that Carlo Felice refused to receive him in Modena, Carlo Alberto left off for some time in Florence, until Austria decided to support his inheritance to the throne of Spain, despite Carlo Felice's opposition.

Not to lose this right Carlo Aberto was therefore forced to apply himself with Metternich not to modify the absolute regime restablished in Piedmont, and accepted to take part to the French revolution which wanted to repress the liberal revolution in Spain (1823).


When Carlo Felice died, Carlo Alberto could finally succeed him (1831) and, although a diving letter sent by Mazzini, Carlo Alberto began an absolutist and reactional politic, whose main expression was the repression of the conspiracy led by the "Giovine Italia" (1833-1834).

Basically antiaustrian Carlo Alberto carried out a series of reforms which made Piedmont the most developped region in the peninsula and the writings of Gioberti, Balbo and d'Azeglio forced the filopiemontes tendency born in Italy.


In 1848 Carlo Alberto began a war against Austria, upsetted by the revolution of Wien and Milan, but the campaign, after a lucky beginning, took an unlucky trend, also for the personal hesitations of the king, and it was ended with the hard defeat of Custoza (25th July). Carlo Alberto, frightened to see the republican ideas triumph in his state, at first called Gioberti (December 1848) and afterwards (12th March 1849) he broke the armistice with Austria also for avoiding the new treason blame of the patriots. But the war resumption was immediatly ended with the defeat of Novara (23rd March 1849), which provoked his abdication in favour of his son Vittorio Emanuele II: Carlo Alberto went then in exile in Portugal, where he died a few months later.


Vittorio Emanuele II (Turin 13/3/1820 - Rome 9/1/1877): Son of Carlo Alberto of Savoy, he was born in Turin in Carignano Palace in 1820.

After his father's abdication, he is able to control the country's agitations putting the power in the hands of D'Azeglio and dissolving the Chamber with democratic majority. In 1852, he gave the presidency of the government to Cavour, who became his best collaborator to unify the Reign. He supports him for the Crimea's war (1855) and for the alliance with France during the Second Indipendence War. In 1859, he begins the negotiations with Garibaldi for the Expedition of the Thousand; in 1864 he gets in touch with Mazzini for raising the oppressed nations of Austria. On 14th March 1861, for the Chamber's will, he became king of Italy. In 1876 he gives the power to the Left and two years later he dies. A complicated figure, Vittorio Emanuele II was "revolutionary and conservative, impulsive and diplomatic, authoritarian and constitutional".


Cesare Balbo (Turin, 1789 - Turin 1853): Born in Turin in 1789, he establishes, in 1804, the Unamimous Accademy where were cultivated studies and love for the homeland. Sent to Rome for reordering the Papal State and adapting it to the Napoleonic regime, he leaves then the active politics with the fall of Napoleon.

Came back to Italy from Spain in 1819, he joins the Liberals who frequented Carlo Alberto. Falled then into disgrace with Santarosa and other revolution heads, he was bordered in Camerano. In 1844 he wrote in Paris "The Hopes of Italy". He dies in Turin in 1853.


Massimo D'Azeglio (Turin, 24/10/1798 - Turin 15/1/1866): Outstanding statesman, great exponent of the piemontes political class who leads the Savoy dinasty to the political Italian union, he was born in Turin on 24th October 1798. Painter, writer, minister and ambassador, he was author of important works which signed the beginning of the landscape picture of the Italian 19th century.

He died in his hometown on 15th January 1866. In the same year, the town dedicated to him certainly the first anthological exhibition dedicated only to an artist of the whole peninsula.

The Modern Art Gallery of Turin, after years of researches, works now, through the exhibition set up which opens today, a complete reconstruction of the finalization dates of the canvass and a new and correct attribution.


Luigi Einaudi (Carrù, 1874 - Rome, 1961): Born in Carrù, in 1874, Luigi Einaudi is one of the great protagonists of history between two centuries: economist, statesman (he is the first president of the Republic in 1948) and also professor, just in Turin, already when he was 21 years old, at the Polytechnic. Decorated of the Honoris causa in Oxford, he loved his own country and he went there when it was possible, on the occasion of manifestations as the Car Saloon. He dies in Rome in 1961.


Piero Gobetti (Turin, 1901 - Paris, 1926): Born in Turin in 1901, died in Paris when he was just 25 years old, during his short existence he became (and he still is) a landmark in the town culture: antifascist politician, he established "the liberal revolution" and "New Energies" where collaborated Gentile, Croce, Einaudi and De Ruggero.


Literary Men (chronological order)

Vittorio Alfieri (Asti, 1749 - Florence, 8/10/1803): Poet and playwrighter, he was one of the main interpreter of the patriotic instances in pre-Italian union epoch.

Born in Asti in 1749, in an aristocratic family, he became orphan of father when he was still one year old. When he gre and was nine, he entered the Royal Accademy of Turin but, intolerant for the strict military discipline, he left in 1766. He travelled for a long time all around Europe, often hasty, for giving vent to his uneasiness. Disgusted by the courtier settings of Paris, Wien and Petersburg, he remained fascinated by the loneliness of the Scandinavian and Spanish landscapes.

If the institutions in his opinion represented the ideal of political freedom, important for his formation was the French Enlightenment thought: he read Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau, but also Machiavelli and Plutarco. Turned back in Turin in 1772, he debuted with the tragedy Cleopatra, which had a big success.

Since then, he dedicated himself only to the literary activity; in 1776 he moved to Florence to improve his Italian language, because until then he used French, the language of the artisocracy of Turin. There, the following year, he knew and fell in love with Luisa Stolberg, countess of Albany, separated from Charles Edward Stuart, pretender of the English throne, who had exercised a good influence on his life until then very restless.


In 1778, he left Piedmot for Tuscany (Siena and Florence), not standing to be tied to a monarch by subject bonds, leaving all his good to his sister in exchange for a life annuity.

During the following years, he wrote the first part of the Rimes (1804, posthuomous) and 19 tragedies. The most famous, Saul (1783), recovers the biblical tales of the Israel king's folly and of his jealousy for David; among the others, there are Filippo (1775-1783), Antigone (1776), Agamennone (1783) and Mirra (1784-1786), focused on the conflict between instinctivity and moral values.

Among his prose works, significant are the Life (1790-1803), a lucid autobiography for which Alfieri worked until the end of his days, and the two treatises Of the Tyranny (1777-1789) and Of the Prince and the Letters (1778-1789), works pervaded by the love of the freedom which awaken the national pride of the Italians and fomented those independece wish which characterized the Risorgimento.

Alfieri went then to Rome (1781-1783), and followed Luise Stolberg in Colmar (Alsace) and in Paris, where he assisted to the Revolution; then, in 1792, he turned back to Italy and settled in Florence, where he died on 8th October 1803. He is buried in the Saint Croce church.

Guido Gozzano (Turin, 19/12/1883 - Turin 9/8/1916): Guido Gustavo Gozzano (who let him call only Guido) was born in Turin in Conienza Street, on 19th December 1883.

He enrols at the Law faculty, but he never graduated, prefering the literature attending -at the university of Turin- the courses of Arthur Graf, together with a group of young men with whom he later creates the "Crepuscolari" group of Turin. With a poor health, he never achieves a regular job, but takes howeverer part to the cultural and social life of Turin in the beginning of the century.
In 1907, he reveals his wish to refuge in the poetry fight-off the social ambitions with the publication of The Life of the refuge. Here, away from the intellectual aims, he reveals his originality. Still in 1907, he begins a relationship with Amalia Guglielminetti, but his health conditions get worse and lead him to tuberculosis.

In 1911, his most important book appears: The conversations, whose compositions are disposed in three sections: The youthful error, On the threshold and The survivor. Along all his life Gozzano collaborates in reviews and newspapers with literary reviews, fairy-tales for children (to remember The two talismans of 1914 and The princess gets married of !917, posthomous) and short stories (The altar of the past of 1918 and The last trace of 1919, both posthumous). He dies in Turin, in Cibrario Street 65, on 9th August 1919 because of tisis. His dead goes unnoticed because it happened the day of the taking of Gorizia.


Cesare Pavese (Santo Stefano Belbo, 1908 - Turin, 1950): Cesare Pavese was born on ì 9th September 1908 in Santo Stefano Belbo, a little town of the Langhe near Cuneo.

Soon the family moved to Turin, even if the hills of his country will always stay printed in the writer's mind and will fuse with the mythical ideal of the chilhood and homesickness.
Cesare's father dies early: this event will influence the boy's nature, already surly and introverted. He studies at the Jesuit social Institute and at the modern gymnasium, then he goes to the D'Azeglio's High school, where he knows Leone Ginzburg, Norberto Bobbio, Tullio Pinelli, Massimo Mila.

In 1930 he graduates at the university with a thesis On the interpretation of Walter Whitman and begins to work at the review "La cultura"; therefore he dedicates himself to the traduction (1931) and in 1933 he takes part to the constitution of the publishing house Einaudi, collaborating with Giulio Einaudi.
Exiled for a whole year by Fascism, he publishes in 1936 his first collection of poems Working is tiring, which contained the poems written from 1931 to 1935 and was read by a few people.

A second edition, which contains also poems written until 1940, was published in 1942 by Einaudi. From then one he dedicates to prose, and among his works we remember The Prison, Dialogues with Leucò, Death will come and it will have your eyes, The moon and bonfires.

Against the art prose monotony and different from Hermetism, Pavese demonstrated how the contact with the big American masses through those romances made language vivid, with the use of the popular spoken language, in order to make it congenial with the new contents.

When he was 42 years old, he kills himself in the hotel Rome, in Turin.


Alessandro Baricco (Turin, 1958): Born in Turin in 1958, he is one of the most famous writers in the Town.

At first, music critic for "La Stampa" and then for "La Repubblica", among the books he wrote we remember Ocean Sea, Silk, City, 20th century, The legend of the pianist on the ocean, from which Giuseppe Tornatore elicited a film. He collaborates with the theater Settimo di Gabriele Vacis and he founded a writing school, the Holden.


Primo Levi (Turin, 31/7/1919 - Turin 11/4/1987): Born in 1919 in Turin, Primo Levi enrols at the Grammar- secondary school D'Azeglio in 1934, famous because notable teachers and Fascist's opponents teached there, some of whom will be well-known for their contribution given to the Italian culture (Umberto Cosmo, Norberto Bobbio, and many others).

In 1937 he enrols at the Science Faculty, but while he attends the university, the Fascist government passes the racist laws: it is in 1938 and from then on it is forbbiten for the young Jewishes to attend the courses.

But in 1941 in the university of Turin, he graduates in chemistry summa cum laude. For work reasons, in 1942 he is forced to move to Milan. In 1943 he takes refuge in the mountains above Aosta, joining with other partisans, but he has almost immediately captured by the Fascist militia and a year later he was interned in the concentration camp of Fossoli and later deported to Auschwitz.

He was released on 27th January 1945 when the Russian arrived in the camp of Buna-Monowitz, even if his repatriation will take place only in October. In 1947 he publishes If this is a man, in 1963 he publishes The truce, with which he wins the Campiello award.

Other works are: a collection of tales entitled Natural Stories, with which he receives the Bagutta Price; a second collection of tales Form vice, a new collection The periodic system, with which he receives the Prato Price for the Resistance; a collection of poems The Bremen inn; the star key; the research of the roots; personal anthology; If not now, when?, with which he wins for the second time the Campiello Award and in the end The sunken and the saved. He kills himself on 11th April 1987.


Architects


Guarino Guarini (Modena, 1642 - Milan, 1683): Born in 1624 in Modena. Entered in the order of the Teatins, he learned to love the baroque style in Rome, from 1660 to 1662 he was in Messina where he created the Santissima Annunziata church, the Teatins' House, Saint Philip's church and the "padri Somaschi" church, and after a stay in Paris, in 1666 he wento to Turin where he stayed until 1681 as engineer and mathematician of Carlo Emanuele of Savoy. In Turin he projected the Sacred Sindone Chapel, Carignano Palace, the teatin church of Saint Lorence and the Saint Philip church. He dies in Milan in 1683.


Filippo Juvarra (Messina, 1678 - Madrid, 1735): Filippo Juvarra was born on 27th March 1678 in Messina; far away from Turin, town to which his name will be tied in the following years.

He moves to Rome in the beginning of 17th century, after he became a minister and he studied design and architecture as autodidact, he works in the town and on the neighbouring hills, dedicating also some periods of his life to travels: he goes to Naples, Lucca, Florence.

Then he goes to Sicily to wait on Vittorio Amedeo II of Savoy's, until, in 1713, he leaves Palermo to follow the sabaud court to Turin. This town will be his "home" until 1735, even if between 1718 and 1719 he travelled much through Europe visiting Paris, Portugal, Holland and having contacts with several styles, and in 1731 he will be in Como to look after the cathedral dome.

In more than twenty years, Filippo Juvarra let to the town many works which we try to quote in a chronologial order: the Royal Venarian Castle, the facade of Saint Chistine's church, the Saint Philip Neri's church, the Superga's basilica, the militar quarters, the Palace of Martini of Cigala, the Palace of Birago of Borgaro, Madama's Palace, Rivoli's Castle (but he created only a third of the building scheduled by the vast programm, because of the lack of open spaces), the "Scala delle forbici" in the Royal Palace, the District and the square of Porta Palace, the royal hunt Villa of Stupinigi, the Roero Palace of Guarene, the Court Archieves Palace, the church of the Carmine.

In 1735 he leaves Turin and goes to Madrid, at the Spanish court, where he dies because of pneumonia in the beginning of next year and where he is still buried.


Benedetto Alfieri (Rome, 1700 - Turin, 1767). He studies in Rome by the Jesuists, and then from 1722 in Turin in the Boarding school of the Nobles where he graduates in Law, when he dedicates himself, as autodidact, to architecture studies.

He builds in Asti and Alessandrie where, in 1730, he creates the palace of the oncle marquis Tommaso Ghilini and, maybe thanks to Juvarra, from whom he receives a great influence, works for the sabaud court.

In 1736, Carlo Emanuele III charges him with ending the Royal Theater of Turin, appointing him in 1739 "first civil architect of the king of Sardinia".

Still in Turin, in many remakes of interiors, among whom some rooms and galleries of the Royal Palace and of the Isnardi palace of Caragluio (1739) are quoted, he demonstrates a conspicious knowledge of French rococò's models.

He works at the Chiblese (1736-1740), Morozzo della Rocca (1748), Asinari of Saint Marzano palaces (begun in 1741), and bulids the southern wing of the Senate palace (1741-1748).

He makes designs for a reform of the Cathedral of Turin, for an enlargement of Madama's palace, of the Stupinigi villa and for a reconstruction of the Chabery castle.

In 1753, the Lapidea factory of Saint Gaudenzio Basilica of Novara orders him the project for the production of the Bell Tower. Production which was ended in 1786, after Alfieri's death.

From 1757 to 1771, four years later his death, the construction of the Catherdral of Carignano is protracted, his most original work for its remakable fan-shaped plan, for the rural concave facade and for the persistance of Guarini's recalls; whereas in the Ottolenghi palaces in Asti, in the Sormani's palaces in Milan, and in the facade of the cathedral of Vercelli (1753-1760) there is the tendency towards a classical official status.

Alfieri deals with town planning, above all in Turin with the project of 1756 for a square at the crossroads between Milan Street and Garibaldi's street.

For the town of Vercelli he presents in 1761 a project of general urban reorganization.


Giovanni Agnelli (Villar Perosa, (Turin), 13/8/1866 - Turin, 16/12/1945) he was the progenitor of the entrepreneurial family Agnelli of Turin.

He became official of the militar accademy of Modena and began his career in the Savoy cavalry. In 1889 he married Clara Boelli and they had two sons, Edoardo and Aniceta.

He developed an interest in the mechanics which led him, without great results, to some attempts in the entrpreneurial camp.

In 1893 he left the army to go back to Villar Perosa with the intention to dedicate himself to the family's activity, the agriculture; he undertook the trade of timber and seeds, he was appointed mayor of Villar Perosa and remained in office for a half century.

In Turin, where he moved to, he attended the Burello's coffee where he met some aristocratics keen on mechanics and motoring. Together with some of them, with the capital obtained from the agricultural activities, in 1899 he founded The Italian Car Factory of Turin (known as FIAT).
Moreover, Agnelli financed the experimentation of motor tricycles, he founded the "Roberto Incerti C. Villar Perosa" for producing ball bearings, where he built the first Italian ski station at the Sestriere's pass etc.

The success in the Agnelli's business was unfortunately balefulled by the son's death, Aniceta in 1928 and Edoardo in 1935, victim of a plane crash in the air station of Genoa, who was inclined to follow the father's career. The discouragement brought Giovanni Agnelli to leave the entrepreneurial activities but the parish priest of the village convinced him to change his mind.

The following years, until the Second World War outbreak, registered a notable development of the family's firms and the grandson Gianni, son of Edoardo, was designated as the successor of Angelli for the firm guide. After the war, Agnelli was accused of compromise with the Fascist regime and he was temporany deprived of the propriety of his firms. A short time later he died.


Gianni Agnelli (Turin, 12.3.1921 - Turin , 14.1.2003): "the little" Giovanni Agnelli, called Gianni and nicknamed "the lawyer", was a great Italian industrialist and businessman, co-possessor and director of the FIAT.

Gianni Agnelli is the son of Edoardo and Virginia Bourbon del Monte, but above all grandson of the namesake senator Giovanni Agnelli; from him he inherited the command of the family firm in 1966, after a period of "regency" by Vittorio Valletta, because his father was already dead during a plane crash.

Valletta, who was one of the last survivors of the foundation, directed the young Gianni to the management of a delicate and strategic firm and instructed him especially on the relatinoships with the political world.

Gianni Agnelli let FIAT grow up until it became the biggest Italian firm, and one of the greatest European car houses; in parallel he developed also the firms colligates and minors, with companies working even in the militar and strategical technologies section. Agnelli and FIAT became one thing in the same meaning: Agnelli means FIAT and, above all, FIAT means Agnelli.

During the wartime, he gratuated in law at the university of Turin, after he was enlisted in a tank driver army and sent in the Russian front and then in the north-African one, where he was wounded; after the armistice he became liaison official with the allieated troups. Agnelli opened FIAT factories all over the world, from Russia (at the time, Sovietic Union) to South America and undertook a tangle of alliances and join-venture (as, for example, those of Iveco) which signed a turnig-point of the entrepreneurial mentality of the time. During the 70's, during the oil-bearing crisis, yield to the Lafico, a Lybian company of the colonel Gheddafi, 10% of the FIAT shares, which he rebought years later.

Gianni Agnelli entered often in conflict with the political forces and above all with the trade unions.
He won once and for all after the 80's general strike, which was interrumpted by the "four thousand march": four thousand workers who at a certain point went back to the factories and started their work again.

This action marked a turnig-point and a sudden downfall of the power since then detained by the trade unions in Italy, which later on didn't have a similar influence on the company and on the national politics any more.

Agnelli was appointed senator for life in 1991, and he entered in the Group for Autonomies; he was admitted in the Defence Commission of the Senate.

In the beginning of 21st century, Agnelli established with the American General Motors an understanding which provided a progressive entrance of foreign capital in FIAT.

The recent economical crisis of the car section of the FIAT group found Agnelli, who was already fighting against his cancer, and he could take part to the events only in a small part.

The figure of Gianni Agnelli was even connected to the history of Juventus, the football team of Turin: it is said that each morning, at 6 o'clock, wherever he was and whatever he was doing, he phoned to the famous president Giampiero Boniperti to know how the situation was.

Agnelli, nicknamed "The lawyer", even if he has never undertook the legal career, represented the most important and prestigious figure in the Italian economy, a symbol of capitalism during the second half of 19th century, so to be considered by some as the real king of Italy. He was a cultured man, dotated of a humoristic sense and he was probably the best known Italian abroad, tied by deep relationships with bankers and international politicians.

In 2002 he left to Turin a huge pictures patrimony, devolving his extraordinary art gallery to the citizens fruition.

On 24th January 2003, Gianni Agnelli died after a long illness.


Umberto Agnelli (Losanne, 1.11.1934 - Turin, 27.5.2004): an important Italian businessman, he was also president of the FIAT since 28th February 2003, after his brother Gianni's death, who was for a long time supported in the management of the car house of Turin. During the 70's, Agnelli was senator of the Republic in the Christian democracy party.

As an important director of the FIAT he had for a long time the control on the primary editorial firms and on the Juventus football company of Turin.

Umberto Agnelli was born in Losanne in Switzerland, the last of seven brothers, by Edoardo Agnelli and Virginia Bourbon del Monte. When he was one year old, he became orphan of father, and he lost his mother when he was eleven; his brother Gianni, 13 years older than him, designed as head of the family, will represent for him a father.

He graduated in law and became when he was only tweny-three years old president of Juventus and in 1959 he was elected president of the FIGC (Italian Football Association).

Agnelli was married twice: once with Antonella Bechi Piaggio (coming from the businessman family who ideated the Vespa scooter), by whom he received a son (Giovanni Alberto called Giovannino, died even because of cancer in 1997); and a second with Allegra Caracciolo, cusin of Marella Caracciolo, wife of Giovanni Agnelli; from this wedding two sons were born, Andrea and Anna.

On 27th May he dies because of cancer in his residence in Mandria, near Turin, nursed by his wife and his two sons.

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