250 years of Pio Albergo Trivulzio


1. An exhibition, organized as part of the celebrations for the 250 th anniversary of the death of Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio, tells the long story of Pio Albergo Trivulzio, created with a donation by the prince. It is an historical and artistic overview of the transformation of Pio Albergo Trivulzio and the Martinitt and Stelline institutes in time, highlighting the close link with the city of Milan and its ability to capture needs and support disadvantaged people at all times. A journey back to the roots of this heritage provides a deeper understanding of the huge support this Institution can still provide to our present daily life. An exhibition curated by Paolo Biscottini in cooperation with Oddina Pittatore.

2. Pio Albergo Trivulzio: A powerful project for people in need
The Personal Services Company ‘Istituti Milanesi Martinitt e Stelline e Pio Albergo Trivulzio’ was created by merging three centuries-old Milanese Institutions – Pio Albergo Trivulzio, devoted to the support and care of elderly people, and two orphanages, Stelline, for girls, and Martinitt, for boys. Almost five centuries have elapsed since the foundation of the Martinitt Institute, almost four from the foundation of the Stelline shelter, and more than two from the establishment of Pio Albergo Trivulzio. The three Institutions, created separately with donations from clerical and secular benefactors, were joined together in 1863. Today, after going through difficult times, they still offer a welfare model representing a city that is aware of the needs of the weakest of all, particularly old people and children.

3. From the origin to this day
Pio Albergo Trivulzio, now an advanced Personal Services Company, boasts a centuries-old history. It was officially opened in 1771 out of the will of prince Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio, who donated his residence overlooking the Naviglio river (now via Francesco Sforza) on contrada della Signora. After the prince’s death, these premises accommodated the first one- hundred patients. The present seat of Pio Albergo Trivulzio, more modern, large, and capacious, was officially opened in 1910 on the way to Baggio. The latest significant construction work provided for the refurbishment of the Bezzi health residence, officially opened in 2013.

4. 1771: the founding age
In the Eighteenth Century, the enlightened absolutism of Maria Theresa of Austria and her son Joseph II, first associated with the Austrian crown upon his father’s death and then sole king upon his mother’s death, strengthened the identity of Milan, a city that had been aware of the needs of its inhabitants ever since the age of bishop Ambrose, its patron saint. The initiative of prince Trivulzio, a friend of the queen’s, to found a secular institute for poor elderly people in his residence was in keeping with the socioeconomic reforms that turned the dukedom of Lombardy into an innovative political laboratory during the Hapsburgs’ reign.

5. The prince donates his mansion
Prince Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio (1692-1767) had inherited an immense land and real-estate wealth from his ancient and noble Lombard family. Open to new enlightened ideas and aware of social problems, the prince designed the transformation of the mansion overlooking the Naviglio river, his residence, into a shelter for poor elderly people. According to his will, his wealth was used to create and maintain such shelter for poor old Milan citizens.

I personally hereby appoint my sole Heir the Shelter for the Poor that shall be built after my death in this City of Milan, in the mansion where I live.
From the will of Prince Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio

The Golden FleeceThe order of chivalry of the Golden Fleece was created in 1422 by Philip of Burgundy to spread the catholic religion. It was granted to a very small number of European noblemen, who were entrusted with the Golden Fleece Collar, a necklace made of golden linchpins alternating with gems, representing flint stones, and a ram’s hide, the symbol of the golden fleece.

6. The Trivulzio family in Milan
A journey through downtown Milan to admire the wealth donated by the articulated Trivulzio family, who had traditionally settled in the Porta Romana neighbourhood. They left many traces: the family mansion on piazza Sant’Alessandro, the mausoleum in the Church of S. Nazaro in Brolo, the seven-arm, 6m-high bronze candle holder, a masterpiece of Gothic gold- working, in the Cathedral, donated by Giovan Battista Trivulzio in the mid-16 th century, the Trivulzio Library at the Sforza Castle, the house-museum Poldi Pezzoli. The prince’s original mansion on via della Signora was knocked down, instead, and the offices of the company A2A were built on its premises.

7. The history of the Trivulzio family
Since the 13 th century, the Trivulzio family has been a major player in the political, military, and cultural history of Milan. Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, known as the Great, a field marshal in the army of the King of France and governor of Milan, was an art lover and a collector of precious manuscripts (some of which are now stored in the Civic Trivulzio Library at the Sforza Castle).
In 1766 Antonio Tolomeo Gallio Trivulzio, the son of Antonio Teodoro Gaetano and Lucrezia Borromeo and heir of the title of prince of the Holy Roman Empire, allocated the family wealth, in his will, to the construction of Pio Albergo Trivulzio in his mansion on via della Signora, to the benefit of the poor. In the mid-18 th century, the brothers Alessandro Teodoro and Carlo Trivulzio, highly educated and passionate collectors, developed the family’s important collection of manuscripts. Rosina Trivulzio (1800-1859), the wife of Giuseppe Poldi Pezzoli and mother of Gian Giacomo, assigned the collections inherited from her family to the house-museum Poldi Pezzoli, created
by her son. Cristina Belgioioso Trivulzio, a patriot of the Italian Risorgimento, was close to Carlo Cattaneo and promoted the creation of shelters for people in need. Lastly, Luigi Alberico devoted passionately to completing the collections of the Trivulzio Library; in 1935 the City of Milan purchased the entire collection to set up the Trivulzio Library as a section of the Civic Historical Archive at the Sforza Castle. The Trivulzio family is now represented in Milan by Gian Giacomo Attolico Trivulzio and, for a different branch, by the Brivio Sforza family.

8. Gaetana Agnesi: a mathematician, a philosopher, and a benefactor
Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799), a Milanese 18 th -century mathematician, gained her renown across Europe for her studies on infinitesimal calculus. A polyglot and a philosopher, she was the first director of Pio Albergo Trivulzio, where she took her residence, and the first to visit the women hosted therein. She was the first woman to write a book on mathematics, Analytical tools for Italian youths. Published in 1748 in Milan, it offers a collection and a clear description of discoveries on infinitesimal calculus. She was also the first woman to obtain a university chair of mathematics.

9. A mansion turned into a nursing home
The 16 th -century mansion of prince Trivulzio was refurbished to become a shelter with the introduction of running water, bathrooms, and improved ventilation. Service rooms were set up on the ground floor, alongside rooms for women’s work, a chapel, and a refectory, whereas dormitories, working rooms, bathrooms, and infirmaries were set up on the first and second floor. The old, the poor, and the sick admitted to Pio Albergo Trivulzio received food, accommodation, clothing, and care. The women’s outfit included a gown, a white apron, and a shawl.

10. The Unification of Italy: Trivulzio, Stelline, and Martinitt
In 1825 the Martinitt and Stelline institutes were merged with Pio Albergo Trivulzio, with a single Board of Directors. Following the Unification of Italy, in 1863, the three institutions were transformed into Charitable Trusts, also with one Board of Directors. Since 1532, the year of the Orphanage’s foundation c/o the oratory of San Martino, in a building on the present via Manzoni, people in Milan had been lovingly referring to the orphans as Martinitt. The Stelline Institute was also named after one of its early premises, the Benedictine Monastery of Santa Maria della Stella. In addition to school lessons, orphans were trained for a job. The orphanage’s purpose was to “shelter poor orphaned children… and give them subsistence and education… so that, once grown wise, clever, and laborious, they can be of use to themselves and to the society they will be reinstated into.” Today, in
addition to 2 hostels and emergency services, there are 6 residential communities, where minors in need, both Italian and foreign, are admitted, educated, and trained for a job.

11. The Martinitt and Stelline Museum
The Martinitt and Stelline Museum, established in 2009 at Corso Magenta 57, near the historical premises of the Stelline girls’ orphanage, tells the story of Milan between the 19 th and the 20 th century through the life of the orphans. A multimedia course with animated photos, videos, and archive records goes through the history of those that gave and those that received support, medical care, education, and a job. The historical archives of the three Institutes, from 1800 to 1960, and part of the Martinitt’s library are available for reference at the Museum.
Another historical institution – the Martinitt Band – was established in 1861 and is still in full operation: founded at the Martinitt Institute, it teaches the young guests to play a musical instrument. In its more than one-hundred and fifty years of life, it has managed to adjust to the context of each historical, social, and political age.

12. Morbelli’s ‘Vecchioni’
Painter Angelo Morbelli, born in 1953 in Alessandria, enrolled at the Brera Academy in 1867. He was inspired by the culture and costumes of the Milanese society, and was deeply interested in real life, intended as a review of contemporary society. The painting Giorni ultimi (Last days), which depicts the elderly guests in one of the halls of the first seat of Pio Albergo Trivulzio on via della Signora, received the gold medal at the Universal Exposition of Paris. Morbelli continued along the same line and produced the series of the ‘Vecchioni’, as the old guests were nicknamed.

13. Life at Pio Albergo
On the wake of the success of his paintings of the old men and women hosted at the shelter, painter Angelo Morbelli continued to depict life at Pio Albergo Trivulzio for more than three decades. A witness of his time, Morbelli had relinquished genre painting to focus on representing real social life. His focus on the physiognomy, psychology, and attitude of these old people makes his paintings a thoughtful consideration of the human being and his destiny.

14. A tradition: the portraits of the Milanese benefactors
As early as in the 14 th century, most hospitals and places of devotion depended on the generosity and solidarity of the Milan society. The tradition to portray benefactors, brought on as an example for civil society, started as a sign of gratitude. These are the portraits of some of the many charitable men and women that supported Pio Albergo Trivulzio. Astronomer Barnaba Oriani, born in 1752, calculated the orbital elements of a celestial object,
which was then identified as planet Uranus. A scholar and a politician, Oriani was appointed count, knight of the iron crown, and senator for his busy public activity. He bequeathed his wealth to the boys’ Orphanage, to the Ambrosian Library, and to the archbishops’ Seminary.

Pia Prandoni donated to the boys’ and girls’ orphanages and to Pio Albergo Trivulzio. This is a bottom-up view of her at home, which shows realistic care for details.

Francesco Pagnoni, a benefactor of the Stelline Institute, had the portrait of his daughter, Luigina Pagnoni, delivered to the Orphanage, alongside other paintings and sculptures and a piece of property.

15. The Martinitt that made Italy’s history
Boys left the orphanage after receiving education and training for a job, which would ensure them a living – typographer, clockmaker, blacksmith, carpenter, driver, shoemaker. Some of them gained success in the entrepreneurial world by leveraging on the training they had received. These include Innocente Besozzi, a student at the Martinitt typography school, who managed to found his own printing works at barely thirty.
Famous entrepreneurs like Angelo Rizzoli, founder of the Rizzoli publishing house, Edoardo Bianchi, creator of the first modern bicycle and of the bicycle and car company, and Leonardo Del Vecchio, founder of Luxottica, received their education at the Martinitt’s boarding school.

16. Trivulzio opens to modernity
By the early 20 th century, the prince’s mansion on the downtown street via della Signora had become too small and inadequate for a shelter. A large suburban property, on the way to Baggio, was then purchased to build the new premises – spacious, functional, and equipped with cutting-edge medical facilities.

17. 1910, the new premises: A cutting-edge architecture
The new, magnificent premises boast ample room, high-efficiency services, and beautiful architectural decorations. The project designed by two civil engineers, Carlo Formenti and Luigi Mazzocchi, provides for a structure based on pavilions divided by functions, conveniently connected with each other, with fresh air and sun light. It is a true ‘village’, as journalists wrote at the time, with buildings for administration and management, care and entertainment, as well as bathroom facilities, kitchens, and dormitories. And a church right in the middle. The complex, with parallel two-storey buildings arranged around a central courtyard, would be built in three years, from 1907 to 1920, and would host to 1,200 people.

18. Comfort, hygiene, early home appliances
The new Trivulzio was designed according to the latest technological innovation, in tuning with recent medical discoveries on environmental healthiness standards. In addition to an outfitted infirmary, ventilation, lighting, heating, and waste disposal systems, mechanical elevators, modern kitchens, and early home appliances were installed.

19. Life in images
The ‘Vecchioni’, as the guests of Pio Albergo Trivulzio were nicknamed, were treated with love and friendly irony by the Milan citizens. In 1910 the official opening of the new premises was celebrated by the authorities and by the entire population. On that occasion, the members of the Automobile Club offered to use their ultra-modern cars to take the elderly to the new residence by driving through piazza Duomo, acclaimed by all their fellow citizens.

20. War time
When Italy joined the war in 1915, the Military Command asked to use the Martinitt’s premises at Porta Vittoria. When these proved inadequate, they decided to use the brand new seat of Pio Albergo Trivulzio as a spare army Hospital. The old guests were temporarily removed, and Pio Albergo was transformed into an army Hospital with 1,240 bed places, although one section was set aside for chronic patients that could not be moved. Only in 1922
could all the old guests return to their premises.

21. From Mani Pulite to the community’s revival
Everyone – the employees at Trivulzio, the guests, the civil society, the City of Milan, and the whole Country – was struck by the Mani Pulite scandal in 1992 and the apprehension of Chairman Mario Chiesa, caught red-handed while pocketing a bribe. Since that event, and others that followed in the past decade, the Company always started over soberly to restore a trust-based relation with the citizens and to provide the ground-breaking services that have been a landmark of the Institute at all times, including less brilliant ones. Today this commitment is renewed day in day out to move away from past mistakes and enhance the community’s revival.

We are conscious we manage an Institution that went through difficult times. At the same time we wish to stress how keen we all are to leave behind the darkest moments of our history. From the Corporate Social Responsibility Report 2016

22. The numbers of Trivulzio
80,000 outpatient services a year
100 old people attending the Day-care Centre every day
11,000 house calls a year
300 hours of IT courses a year
30 physicians trained every year as the geriatrists and chief medical officers of the future
24 guests above 100 years of age
3,400 meals prepared every day
90 collaborations with local healthcare centres, schools, foundations, universities, and volunteer organizations
1,456 employees

23. The social value of the Institute’s real-estate
In addition to residential facilities for old people, rehabilitation centres, shelters for minors, offices, and the Museum, Trivulzio owns a large real-estate wealth donated by the Milanese citizens to the elderly and orphans. The over 1,000 apartments, garages, and stores are managed according to fairness and transparency standards, and are allocated via public tenders. More than 300 apartments are rented for fees agreed with the tenants’ unions.

24. The lands of Trivulzio
The estate inherited from Prince Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio spreads over 1,700 ha of lands, distributed across the provinces of Milan, Lodi, and Cremona. These lands are meant for agriculture and farming – the typical and traditional rural activities in Lombardy – and, today, to “farm to fork” production. Most lessees produce milk: 6-7 tons per day on average, often transformed into grana or gorgonzola cheese by dairy associations, with much higher production levels for those that own more cattle. There are more than thirty producers: in addition to dairy products, some are specializing in meat production, others in vegetable or rice growing.

25. Training and innovation
Pio Albergo Trivulzio takes a groundbreaking cross-disciplinary approach to care and support. Guests in the health residences are involved in multiple creative and occupational therapy activities to improve their psychophysical wellbeing – from art workshops to pet interaction. One example is donkey therapy: elderly people pamper and feed these tame and patient animals, which often bring back pleasant childhood memories, enjoying a contact that proves beneficial from the emotional and behavioural viewpoint.

Young people choosing to take care of the elderly
I started my career as a trainee at Pio Albergo Trivulzio, where I worked for six months. During that time. I had the opportunity to grow and confront with others. I remember cross- disciplinary team work: a physician (trained or training), a nurse, a social worker, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and an Operating Unit head gathered around a table with the files in their hand. This experience allowed me to learn a lot about the Medicine I would have liked to master upon completing my University courses, which is not just ultra- technological diagnostics or advanced therapy, but also listening to patients, caregivers, and all the co-workers involved in recovery.Barbara Brignolo Ottolini (Geriatrist at Trivulzio)

26. Scientific research opens up new frontiers
Physicians at Trivulzio are involved in research projects aimed at improving the conditions of elderly people. Alongside the Ministry of Health, and under the leadership of Marco Tinelli, M.D., National Secretary of the Italian Society for Infectious and Tropical Diseases, they promoted a study on CREs, carbapenem-resistant enterobacteria, from which they intend to protect patients. This will be the first study to investigate the natural history of community colonization. The goal is to reduce CRE transmission in hospitals and in healthcare and other premises, in order to offer a safer environment to in-patients.

27. A place for care, a place for living
Elderly people are always at the heart of the range of services provided at Pio Albergo Trivulzio, a place for care, rehabilitation, and residence, as well as for living, socialization, and home care. The Institute takes full charge of the patients and their families to ensure support, rehabilitation, and the recovery of independence and social life. In addition to accommodation and specialist services, a number of activities and initiatives are offered to promote the well- being and dignity of people. Geriatric emergency services, rehabilitation, home care, social security residence, outpatient clinic, x-rays, day care centre, hospice.

28. Amici del Trivulzio Onlus
Amici del Trivulzio Onlus was established on April 11, 2016 upon the initiative of a group of people driven by the old dream of prince Antonio Tolomeo Trivulzio to create a home for old, fragile, and disadvantaged people. Its goal, in line with the mission of Pio Albergo Trivulzio, is to support the facility’s guests, organize activities, and address the social needs of local families. Projects, in synergy with the physicians and services of Pio Albergo Trivulzio and other no-profit organizations, are designed both to improve the overall wellbeing of the facility’s guests and to provide practical responses to the age or illness-related social and care needs of so many disadvantaged people, who live at home with no opportunity to access public or private care.

29. Under Milan’s sky
Trivulzio, born from the generosity of prince Antonio Tolomeo, displayed in time a solidarity that can be appropriately defined as Ambrosian. A secular concept that digs its roots in the Christian dimension of St. Ambrose and is conveyed through the openness that still characterizes it today. This solidarity is expressed in Milan by the city’s numerous institutions and, particularly, through care for the population’s health and for the needs of the weaker
groups, including elderly people. This is why Trivulzio managed to become what it is today – for its all-Milanese history that started so long ago, but continues today and grows consistently and bravely under Milan’s sky, “that sky of Lombardy, which is so beautiful when the weather is good.”

30. Ever since its origin, the western culture has been focused on man. Modern cities and the ability to establish positive relations among people were founded on this concept across Europe. The ageing population brought to the forefront the needs of old people and the demand for facilities suited to address multiple ageing-related issues. We know we have just started on a long journey together: times of trouble are gradually left behind through the dailywork of all our employees and collaborators, the guests and families that share a renewed commitment to the benefit of Milan and of the future of our Country. Our wholehearted thanks to them all: with them and for them, we are ready to take new challenges for a new Welfare.

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