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The other night I attended a meeting with the townspeople of Valdagno, a small town in the province of Vicenza, known for being the headquarters of industrial group Marzotto. This ingenious family built what is historically regarded as the social city or the town of harmony. The legacy endowed today is huge. The successful attempt made by Gaetano Marzotto between the wars was to build a city for its people, where the factory is complemented with life and culture ...
Published on Monday ,November 14, 2010
Marzotto’s input is a totally equipped visionary model: there were nurseries, infant schools, retirement homes, Olympic swimming pools, a 2,000-seat theatre, with Santomaso façade, polytechnic schools, music schools and a club which organized recreational and cultural activities for workers in their free time. And not only to play cards. One of the highest examples of 20th century social entrepreneurial vision. 
Starting in 1950 and for 20 years the city of Valdagno also hosted the Marzotto Prize, a synesthetic event that brought together various disciplines ranging from literature to philosophy, from economy to journalism, from music to painting. That is how that little village at the bottom of a valley became an international point of reference, thanks to the courage of certain choices that aimed to place side by side established names alongside young emergent talents. Those people belonged to the first after war generation and, just after this success, would have found their final consecration. From Burri to Fontana.
We are talking about years in Italy where nobody would speak about cultural entrepreneurship or business models linked with social issues. Today Valdagno has been hugely changed by the unbridled economy of the last thirty years and the consequential crisis, and not just economically. Yesterday’s surprise was 82 years old Giannino Marzotto, intellectual-entrepreneur-race-car driver (he won two Millemiglia car races). He just created the Project Marzotto Foundation by which he has purchased the old after-work spaces (3,000 mq) and the music school. He has presented the restoration of the whole structure that is going to be over in one year. There will be a theatre, a library, a dancing room and a recording room. All with equipment of European level. Available to the citizen and not only, of course.
Giannino Marzotto alla Millemiglia del 1951
The total investment? 3 millions Euros. To which he also adds up the whole collection of 19th century Italian paintings and 6 aras, for another 50 millions. But it is not only about money or estate values. In the words of Giannino Marzotto there was an incredible energy. Lashing into the future with which he would warn us all that territories can only start again from culture. By doing this, launching a bridge between past and future, between local identity and internationality. But, he says, one must have some guts.

cristiano seganfreddo
direttore di fuoribiennale e innov(e)tion valley

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*articolo pubblicato su Exibart.onpaper n. 67. 

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