From the “Martino Zanetti Collection” to “Il Vittoriale degli Italiani” Foundation
MARTINO ZANETTI, OWNER AND PRESIDENT OF HAUSBRANDT TRIESTE 1892 S.P.A, DONATES THE LARGEST ITALIAN COLLECTION OF GABRIELE D’ANNUNZIO’S DOCUMENTS AND LETTERS TO IL VITTORIALE.
An impassioned scholar of theatre, painting, architecture, music and various other artistic experiences linked to them, since a very early age Martino Zanetti was passionate about the works of d’Annunzio and has become the most important collector; both of published original works, critical historical texts regarding the poet and ultimately autographed texts. His collection includes more than three-thousand pages, including the most important letters from his younger years and those from later in life; in addition to the first autographed draft of “La Vita di Cola di Rienzo”.
The love of culture that has accompanied him for all his lifetime, to the present, has always remained the primary dimension flanking his personality, officially exhibiting his persona as entrepreneur. Two parallel ways of being that have never come into conflict along the path of his personal experience. Even his expressive potential has been enriched and has given the businessman Martino Zanetti the chance to communicate “creatively” in every field of his activities; this has transferred to his collaborators, first and foremost, a different and unusual dimension. The said approach, along with the great affection that such a mechanism has aroused in the people contiguous to him, has given life to Martino Zanetti’s business reality that is an uncommon and winning blend.
Today Martino Zanetti (who owns specific works of international renown in addition to those by d’Annunzio, such as works by Shakespeare, Ben Johnson and Inigo Jones) donates his entire collection of documents signed by Gabriele d’Annunzio: more than 3000 original documents including letters from the writer to his lovers, manuscripts and public speeches from the 1882–1883 and 1936–1938 periods, as he believes it is his duty to bring them “back to life” in the place most appropriate for them: namely the Poet’s last dwelling.
A legacy that has been “hidden” to the present and donated to Il Vittoriale in order to provide new inspiration and new sensations to all his fans, to those who are eager to become acquainted as best they can with the highest Italian exponent of European thought and literary trends: including exaggerated sensuality, refined and paganistic aesthetism, an inclination towards assessing social realities and forecasting outcomes with almost secular anticipation.
“My passion for Gabriele d’Annunzio arose while I was growing up, as I began reading him when I was an adolescent”, says Martino Zanetti. “I immediately perceived the abyssal discrepancy between what I was reading (and was fascinated by) and his historical/literary teaching and criticism that were systematically and bizarrely negative”.
This also came into conflict with the opinions expressed by non-Italian writers, who greatly appreciated the works of d’Annunzio (Hemingway first and foremost). Yet today, and I already realized this back then during my first visit to Il Vittoriale, this has caused the Italian public at large to disregard one of its “five great figures in literature” (Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Leopardi and d’Annunzio). Despite the present success of Il Vittoriale (for the number of visitors and scheduled activities), ancient prejudice still persists for his works and his life.