The International Balzan Foundation was created in Lugano in 1956, thanks to the generosity of Lina Balzan, who had come into a considerable inheritance on the death of her father, Eugenio. She decided to use this wealth to honour his memory.

Eugenio and Lina Balzan

Eugenio Francesco Balzan was born in Badia Polesine, near Rovigo (Northern Italy), on 20 April 1874 into a family of landowners. He spent almost his entire working life at Milan’s leading daily newspaper, Corriere della Sera.

After joining the paper in 1897, he worked his way up from editorial assistant to news editor and special correspondent. In 1903 editor Luigi Albertini made him managing director of the paper’s publishing house; he then became a partner and shareholder in the company. He was not only a skilfull manager but also a leading personality in Milan. In 1933 he left Italy due to opposition from certain quarters hostile to an independent Corriere.

He then moved to Switzerland, living in Zurich and Lugano, where for years he had invested his fortune with success. From there, he also continued his charitable activities in favour of institutions and individuals. Eugenio Balzan officially returned to Italy in 1950.

He died in Lugano, Switzerland, on 15 July 1953.

The Balzan Collection

A leading figure in business and the cultural milieu in Milan at the beginning of the twentieth century, Eugenio Balzan was also a collector. His taste in art and intuition for investment led him to acquire Italian paintings, mainly from the end of the nineteenth century, in a collection of nearly fifty works by masters like Filippo Palizzi, Domenico Morelli, Mosè Bianchi, and Giacomo Favretto.

The collection is part of the assets of the Balzan Foundation, which are administered by the Balzan “Fund” in Zurich. It is currently in the custody of the City of Badia Polesine, where Eugenio Balzan was born, and is open to the public in the foyer of the municipal theatre, which is named after Eugenio Balzan.

Discover more about Eugenio Balzan

Renata Broggini
Eugenio Balzan 1874-1953. Una vita per il “Corriere” un lascito per l’umanità
RCS Libri s.p.a. Rizzoli, Milano 2014

Re-edition of: Eugenio Balzan 1874-1953. Una vita per il “Corriere” un progetto per l’umanità di Renata Broggini, RCS Libri s.p.a. Rizzoli, Milano 2001
Renata Broggini
Eugenio Balzan 1874-1953 A Biography
(translated by Clarice Zdanski), Ulrico Hoepli Editore s.p.a., Milano 2007
Renata Broggini
Eugenio Balzan 1874-1953 Une biographie
(traduit par Alexandre Masson, Andrea Palasciano et Manon Valère), Alma Editeur, Paris 2020
Eugenio Balzan. L’emigrazione in Canada nell’inchiesta del «Corriere». 1901
a cura di Renata Broggini; prefazione di Gian Antonio Stella
“Le carte del Corriere”, Fondazione Corriere della Sera, Milano 2009

Video “Eugenio Balzan tra Milano e Lugano” (5′ 4″)

Lombardia Production, 2008

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Fondazione Internazionale Premio Balzan