Giuseppe Volpi

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Giuseppe Volpi
Volpi's wife Nerina, b. Pisani, 1906
Giuseppe Volpi in the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari

Giuseppe Volpi (born November 19, 1877 in Venice , † November 16, 1947 in Rome ) was an Italian entrepreneur and an influential politician during the era of fascism .

Along with Vittorio Cini, Volpi was the leading head of the Gruppo veneziano . In 1905 he founded the power generator SADE , which mainly supplied the north-east of Italy with electrical energy. In 1912, at the end of the Italo-Turkish War, he played a key role in the armistice negotiations. The creation of the industrial port of Venice, Porto Marghera , goes back to his initiative. From 1921 to 1925, as governor of the North African colony of Tripolitania, during the second Italian-Libyan War , he enforced its military recapture. In gratitude, he was made Count of Misrata by the King of Italy in 1925 . He was then appointed Minister of Finance from 1925 to 1928 under Benito Mussolini .

In 1932, Volpi was appointed president of the Venice Biennale , which until then had been a classical art exhibition. For several years he was also the owner of the Hotel Excelsior on the Lido in Venice. At the beginning of the 1930s, occupancy in his hotel in Venice was low. In order to change this and after consulting Mussolini, he expanded the Biennale in the same year to include a film festival , which initially took place in his hotel. This was the start of the Venice International Film Festival , which is the oldest film festival in the world. Since 1935, in honor of the founder, the Coppa Volpi has been awarded as a prize for the best acting performance as part of the festival . Under his leadership, the festival increasingly came under the influence of fascist politics. In 1937 the pompous Palazzo del Cinema in Venice was built as a location . Volpi remained president of the Biennale until 1943. In 1937 he acquired the Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi and owned it until 1946.

Because of his influence, Volpi is sometimes called the Last Doge of Venice . At the end of the Second World War, he fled to Switzerland on July 25, 1945. A few months later he returned to Italy and lived in Rome until his death in 1947.

His son Giovanni Volpi became the sole heir . With the support of the Patriarch of Venice Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli , Giuseppe Volpi found his final resting place in the Basilica of Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice , although he had worked closely with the fascist regime and benefited enormously from it .


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