Enrica Amiotti and Luigi Amiotti
Was born on October 11th 1885 in Albonese, a small town in Lomellina, province of Pavia. Her father Giovanni Battista cultivates a modest plot of agricultural land. Of his five children, Enrica and Luigi are the only ones who continue their studies – the first one to become a teacher, the second, an accountant – and the only ones who never got married. The other son, Angelo, continued to manage the farm in the paternal house in Via IV Novembre, where Enrica also lived for a long time. Enrica Amiotti graduated as a teacher in Novara and will remain in Albonese for all her life, except for a short interlude of time in Milan. She will teach in elementary school for 47 years, from 1905 to 1952, with a commitment and dedication that today are defined as ‘of yesteryear’.
This photograph, taken on November 13th 1949, shows her in front of the town hall of Albonese, on the occasion of the ceremony organized for the awarding of the Gold Medal and the “First Class Diploma of Merit” conferred by the President of the Italian Republic for “her forty years of good service in public primary schools ”. On the far left of the photo is Don Vittorino Quaglino, parish priest of Albonese for the entire second half of the century, and behind Enrica is her affectionate brother Luigi, who will set up the Enrica Amiotti Foundation in 1970.
In 1954, Enrica, now retired, moved for a few years to Milan where her brother Luigi lived, and then returned to Albonese with her niece Maria to “Villa Enrica”, the beautiful and large house just built by her brother in her hometown after an adventurous life and professional successes in the cotton industry.
Unfortunately, the serene years of retirement were short lived; Enrica Amiotti died on August the 20th, 1961, two days after writing a tender greeting card to her nephew Enrico who was hospitalized for appendicitis surgery.
Enrico Amiotti is today the representative of the Amiotti family on the Board of Directors of the Foundation, of which he is President.
Luigi was born in Albonese on July 20th, 1895, the youngest of Giovanni Battista Amiotti’s five children. He soon finds the horizons of his native town too narrow, where his sister Enrica and the other brothers will remain for life. Strong-willed and independent, he volunteered in the army, fought the First World War in the 59th Artillery, was awarded the Merit Cross of War on August the 4th1918, and took leave after the war with the rank of Major.
Immediately after the war he meets Mario Battistel, who will become his business partner and with whom he sees a future in the cotton industry. They obtained a loan from an American Jew met by chance, enabling Amiotti and Battistel to go to the United States to “study cotton” and in 1926 they were the first Europeans to obtain licenses to evaluate and trade cotton fibers from the US Ministry of Agriculture, according to the United States Cotton Act.
The Battistel Amiotti Company was born, traces of which we find in the archives of the Banca Commerciale Italiana, in a letter of introduction from Raffaele Mattioli dated 1936. In those years, with the help of his very young nephew Giuseppe Bellomo, Luigi Amiotti was amongst the first Italians to cultivate cotton in Italian East Africa, where he obtains a concession from the government for a large, totally virgin region, to be deforested and started from scratch for cotton production. It is a success, that has to be stopped at the beginning of the Second World War.
After World War II, the Battistel Amiotti became one of the main Italian cotton brokers, with stable connections with the American and Egyptian production markets, on the one hand, and with Italian cotton spinning and weaving mills on the other. Having discovered a telex line that remained inactive after the war between the United States and London, he used it to offer the Italian market – through the Cotton Association – the daily prices of the Chicago Commodity Exchange throughout all the 1950’s and 1960’s. These are the years of the economic boom, to which Commendatore Amiotti gives his contribution from the offices of Corso Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, even after the premature death of his partner Battistel.
At the end of the 1950s Luigi Amiotti wanted to return to Albonese, where he had a beautiful villa built with large and well-kept gardens, in which to spend the weekends and then the years of well-deserved retirement. He will call it “Villa Enrica”, and he will invite his sister Enrica and niece Maria Bellomo to come and live with him
Having now retired from business, and having lost his sister Enrica fifteen years earlier, in 1970 he sets up the Enrica Amiotti Foundation in her memory, with an initial endowment of 50 million lire. Thirty years later, the assets of the Foundation, invested in shares according to the Statute wanted by the Founder, amount to over one million euros.
The Foundation was erected at the Istituto Lombardo Academy of Sciences and Letters, a prestigious and bicentenary Milanese institution, which had Alessandro Volta as its first president and which continues today in its tradition of alternating leadership and community of initiatives among the university components, scientific and humanities. The goals and the Statute of the Amiotti Foundation were discussed for a long time between the founder Luigi Amiotti and the then President of the Lombard Institute, Rector Emeritus of the State University of Milan, Professor De Francesco.
Luigi Amiotti passed away at Villa Enrica on March the 14th, 1982, and leaves the baton within the Board of Directors of the Enrica Amiotti Foundation to his nephew, Giovanni Battista, son of his brother Angelo, and on his death in 1994 to his great-nephew Enrico Amiotti, appointed Vice-President in 2006.
Too big to be lived in by their grandchildren, divided between Albonese, Vigevano and Milan, and too beautiful to be left to go in ruins, the heirs of Luigi Amiotti (the Amiotti, Bellomo and Cordara families) will donate Villa Enrica to the Diocese of Vigevano. For a few years, it was given on loan to Don Mazzi’s drug addiction recovery community, but since 2007, after an important renovation and completion of the building, it became a house for elderly people managed by Opera Charitas Sant’Anna.