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 Press reviews

Magazin FLUNTERMER - Daniela Ambrosoli Foundation für Tanz und Filme - 9. September 2018

Tanz mit Bildern 

Züriberg Article - The Making of a Dream - 31. May 2018

Züriberg Artikel - Dokumentarfilmerin nimmt sich an Tänzerinnen an - 31.Mai 2018

Züritipp Movie guide - The Making of a Dream - Daniela Ambrosoli - 24. Mai 2018

Züritipp Kinoprogramm - The Making of a Dream - Daniela Ambrosoli - 24. Mai 2018

Zwei Teenies auf dem Weg zum Tanz-Olymp - Tagblatt Zürich - 31. Mai.2017

Zwei Teenies auf dem Weg zum Tanz-Olymp -  Tagblatt Zürich 31. Mai.2017

Reportage Tagblatt Zürich - 31. Mai.2017

Ivan Urban nimmt seinen Abschied von der großen Ballettbühne - 7. Juli 2016

Ivan Urban nimmt seinen Abschied von der großen Ballettbühne

Danzasi - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - June 2016

Danzasi - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - June 2016

Züritipp - 4. June 2015

Zueritipp-2015

La Regione Ticino - June 2015

LaRegione-2015

Züriberg - 4. June 2015

ZB-2015

RSI - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - 7. June 2015

Tages Anzeiger - 8. June 2015

TagesAnzeiger-2015

Tages Anzeiger - Die Meisterschülerin - 1. February 2014

agesAnzeiger-Febr2014-MiriamPrandi

Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, ZHdK - Thanking - 2014

ZHdK-Verdankung-2014

Danzasi - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - April 2013

Danzasi - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - April 2013

La Libertà (Piacenza) - June 2007

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Liberta-2007

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La Libertà (Piacenza) - Interview with Daniela Ambrosoli - June 2007

Intervista a Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli

Acquista un respiro internazionale la serie di saggi delle scuole di danza cittadine in corso in questi giorni, con la venuta a Piacenza, sabato prossimo, di Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli, presidente della Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation di Zurigo, nota organizzazione no-profit che da oltre diciassette anni elargisce borse di studio a giovani talenti nel campo della musica e della danza.

Figlia dell’imprenditore Pierino Ambrosoli e della ballerina espressionista tedesca Sonja Bragowa, Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli verrà a Piacenza per assistere al Concerto annuale degli allievi dell’accademia di danza Domenichino da Piacenza diretta da Giuseppina Campolonghi, presso la quale insegna una ex-borsista della Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation, come la stessa Daniela Ambrosoli racconta in questa breve intervista.

Quali sono gli scopi della Fondazione da lei istituita?

Ho creato la Fondazione nel 1990, con l’intento di portare avanti la lunga e fruttuosa attività di mio padre mediante un’operazione di mecenatismo culturale, mettendo a disposizione di giovani talenti di diversa nazionalità nel campo della musica e della danza borse di studio in scuole riconosciute in tutto il mondo. Sento questo compito come un’eredità paterna: mediante l’attività della Fondazione è come se mio padre potesse ancora oggi prodigarsi in favore delle espressioni artistiche della musica e della danza con la stessa energia e lo stesso impegno con cui si è dedicato in vita agli affari.

Cosa la porta a Piacenza?

Il legame iniziato 14 anni fa con la brava ballerina Michela Arcelli, allora allieva della SBBS (Scuola Professionale Svizzera di danza Classica) e nostra borsista. Desidero ammirare di persona l'ottimo lavoro che Michela svolge con la sua scuola di danza.
Dal 1990, anno della sua nascita, la Fondazione Pierino Ambrosoli ha avviato alla carriera 166 giovani artisti. Continua a seguirli tutti personalmente, come dimostra di stare facendo con la piacentina Michela Arcelli?
Come lei ha evidenziato, è una particolarità unica della nostra Fondazione quella di seguire i nostri giovani artisti con un'attenzione personalizzata secondo i bisogni di ognuno. A volte ci è capitato di seguire anche le famiglie dei nostri giovanissimi talenti per aiutarle a superare le difficoltà
di ordine affettivo e psicologico che comporta un soggiorno di studio
del proprio figlio in continenti lontani e sconosciuti. Sì, intrattengo tuttora rapporti molto stretti con parecchi ex-borsisti, dei quali alcuni, dopo una carriera colma di successi sui palcoscenici, oggi hanno intrapreso una seconda carriera o si dedicano alla famiglia.

Lei che frequenta i teatri di tutto il mondo, come giudica oggi la situazione della danza in Italia?

La sua domanda mi mette molto in imbarazzo. Preferisco dirle che molto si potrebbe ancora fare...

 

Caterina Caravaggi - La Libertà - 06.06.2007

CODARTS magazine - January 2006

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Zürichbergzeitung - July 2005

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tanz - la danse suisse - For the love of art - May 2000

For the love of art

 

Investigations made into the history of Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli' family arose that already on the mother's side of the family Ambrosli-Knieser a patron of the art existed at the beginning of the 19th century (Sonja Bragowa).

The grand uncle of Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli, Friedrich Hauber, was a successful businessman from Schwäbisch-Gmünd (South Germany), was also an enthusiast of the fine arts. He supported painting, music and dance.

On the re-discovered ex-libris etching by the famous Swabian painter Reinhold Nägele one recognises the person of Friedrich Hauber who has been an artistic person himself playing music.

As along as art exists, there will be art-lovers who are convinced that art serves humanity and who are willing and able to support the arts financially. Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli from Ticino, Switzerland, is one of these people. In 1990, she used part of her inheritance to found the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation at Kreuzstrasse 78, Zurich. She established this foundation in memory of her parents, the businessman Pierino Ambrosoli, from whom she inherited her fortune, and the dancer Sonja Bragowa, from whom she inherited her love of dance. Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli's foundation is particularly supportive of talented young dancers, but also furthers the careers of aspiring musicians and filmmakers. The foundation subsidises training courses and contributes towards art productions; it offers counselling for young dancers and their parents and co-operates with selected schools and other institutions promoting culture, as well as with theatres and dance companies. It acts as an agency for auditions, international juries and contests, as well as sponsoring prizes for the Prix de Lausanne and other competitions. In 1999, 15-year old Laetitia Guggi received the "Prix du Meilleur Suisse" from the funds of the foundation. In 2000, the Russian Sergej Kheilik received the "Prix Espoir" for a year's training, donated by the foundation.

Aspiring professional dancers of all nationalities between the ages of 15 and 18 may apply to the foundation for a grant, provided they have sufficient preliminary training in classical dance. Over a hundred young hopefuls apply for a grant each year. Eight to ten candidates are then selected by the foundation's president, together with a panel of experts, as being sufficiently talented to receive a scholarship to one of fifteen schools worldwide recognised by the Ambrosoli Foundation. In Switzerland, students of the Ecole-atelier Rudra Béjart in Lausanne and of the Swiss Professional School of Ballet (SBBS) in Zurich are supported by the foundation. In the period 97/98 and 98/99, for example, Mia Kivelä from Finland (born 1983) was sponsored by the foundation on the strength of a recommendation from the SBBS administration.

Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli is not only interested in classical ballet, but also promotes modern and contemporary dance, music and filmmaking. In a few instances, her foundation has also supported young people in related fields of art. Thus Mona Pête from Eastern Switzerland received a grant this year for the second time to attend the School of Circus Arts in Berlin. After completing their course, students can apply for a trainee's post, where they will gain practical experience. They receive monthly grants for an apprentice year at a theatre or with a dance company. In this way, the foundation has helped many young Dancers to find an engagement with a renowned Ballet- or Dance Company.

Those who are not content with being a member of the corps de ballet and want to branch out on their own are usually even more dependent on benevolent patronage. One example is the Trio Metzger/Zimmermann/de Perrot, a Swiss ensemble supported by the Ambrosoli Foundation thanks to its innovative combination of dance, artistic expression and music. The success of their first presentation "Gopf" proves that the foundation has a good feel for talent. The dance companies "Nomades" and "Linga" from Western Switzerland are also indebted to the foundation for their success.

Apart from promoting specific people or groups, Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli is also interested in supporting the arts in general. Last November, she helped to organise international conferences in Toronto and The Hague on the theme "Not Just Any Body", focussing on the health aspect of dancing and modern methods of training and treatment. In December 1999, a website was created to publicise the activities and projects of the foundation. For further information, please call up www.ambrosoli.org If required, you can simply download the registration form for a scholarship.

 

Christina Thurner - dance magazine "tanz-la danse suisse" - May 2000

Ballett-Moscow - Trip to Russia - 1997

 

At the invitation of Mr Philippe Braunschweig and his wife Elvire, I travelled to Russia in October 1997; it proved to be one of the most outstanding experiences ever. Once again I would like to express my thanks to them for giving me the opportunity to take part in their wide and varied experience.

This year we were able to carry out the translation of my interview with the leading specialist magazine "Ballet", Moscow. Here a few excerpts from the interview:

 

Meeting at the Editorial Office

 

… WITH ELVIRE AND PHILIPPE BRAUNSCHWEIG AND DANIELA MARCACCI

"… Together with Elvire and Philippe Braunschweig, their friend Daniela Marcacci, the President of the "Ambrosoli" Foundation, which has continually provided financial support for the "Prix de Lausanne" competition, was also present at the Editorial Office. We also asked our guest to report on her activities. We are publishing below the interview she granted our correspondent in which it is made clear yet again that culture should prevail everywhere.

- Ms Marcacci, please tell us a little about the "Ambrosoli" Foundation.

"The Foundation was founded in Switzerland, in Zurich, in 1990, in memory of my mother who, in the twenties, was an interpretative dancer. She trained under Mary Wigman. But the Foundation itself is named after my father Pierino Ambrosoli, as it was set up on the basis of the funds he bequeathed to me. My mother's stage name was Sonja Bragowa although she was German by origin.

Initially, the purpose of our Foundation was to help young people who had decided to make a career in various artistic fields. But relatively soon our attention began to focus essentially on people who had dedicated themselves to ballet."

- Your daughter had also chosen a career in ballet?

"Yes. It was also through my daughter that I got closer to ballet, that I saw how she and her friends studied, how they lived. And I came to realise that while my daughter had everything she needed for her studies, many of her classmates had to do without so many of these things.

In its activities the Foundation worked together with Elvire and Philippe Braunschweig. Philippe has worked on our Board of Trustees from the very beginning.

We created a special scholarship for the Lausanne Competition: as a rule we take over the payment of a bonus to the best competition participant from Switzerland, under the condition that he or she reaches at least the semi-finals.

We also act as sponsors for modern stage productions by individual ballet companies. In Switzerland, for example, there is a company that calls itself "Nomades", and it is made up of former soloists from Maurice Béjart's company. We have also helped other Swiss troupes, most of which work in the modern genre. In some cases we take charge of the fee for a young dancer who has just started out with a troupe."

- Who is your Foundation for?

"Anyone who needs help can turn to us, even in person, and present his or her situation to us. We will then send the applicant a questionnaire which he or she should fill out by answering all the questions it contains."

- Could you tells us a little more about yourself?

"At the time I was working in ultrasound medicine for gynaecology. After my father died, I inherited his business and continued to run it. It was a trading company."

- How many years have you now been involved with the Competition?

"Seven years."

- Ms Marcacci, do you find your work morally satisfying from a personal point of view?

"I'm just so happy when I see someone on stage whom we were able to help with a scholarship from our Foundation."

- You yourself have three children. Do you think your children will continue your work?

"I certainly hope so. Even if it's hard to say right now. But we have a rule in place according to which the money handed over to the Foundation cannot be taken back by anyone. Even after I have died, the Foundation will continue to exist with the funds that have been paid into it. Under Swiss law not even I am entitled to withdraw funds from the Foundation…"

 

[(The text was processed by A. Michalewa Translated from the article "Wstretschi w readkzii…" from Russian into German by Wilma Krätz.)]


Ballet-Moscow - 1997

 

The Foundation - 1990

The Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation is dedicated to Daniela's father Pierino Ambrosoli and to Sonja Bragowa, former dancer (in the twenties) of the 20th century, Daniela's mother.

The why's of a foundation can be the most varying, but very often behind the will to create it there is a wish, a dream unrealised for reasons beyond our control. Serious scientific research, assistance to the disabled and, today more than ever, the attention to the state of precarious health which our planet is in, constitute a series of noble causes in which each extra-ordinary and unexpected help can revive a hope. Beside the great material problems of humanity, however, there are other values which merit attention.

Perhaps today more than yesterday, because of the spreading power of materialism, it is necessary to give back the right importance to art in its various forms, because it is through the non superficial approach to the artistic disciplines that in the individual a sensitiveness is born and matures which raises him/her to a higher spiritual condition. 'Food for the soul': music and poetry were often thus defined. An accurate comparison, which well describes the need to nurture the spirit, just as one does the body.

A necessity strongly felt by Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli, who thus decided to set up afoundation to promote dance and music, two of the artistic disciplines most dear to her. Contrary to what often happens, the realisation of this wish was not referred to the testamentary will of the founder, but was born and developed in a woman who, while still young, has decided to destine a large part of the fortune inherited from her father PIERINO AMBROSOLI to help those who intend to set out on a path which leads to the stage. So the Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation was born in Zürich on Mai 10, 1990.

A Foundation therefore which has the double aim of making the path easier for artistically gifted young people and of remembering the figure of PIERINO AMBROSOLI, a man full of inventive ideas and entrepreneurial courage who, with his work, laid down the base which today enables his daughter to give to a real institution.

A Foundation which wants to be of help to individual artists and organisations faced with her inevitable taking-off problems which from the very beginning can boast a board of governors, which Daniela Marcacci Ambrosoli waned to have a good profile from the point of view of competence. It is this same Foundation Council which sifts through the requests and verifies the merits of the applicants, whose only requisite is to have practised, at least partly, the artistic activity for which they intend to receive a grant. (The cases will be examined closely with the help of experts from outside the Foundation.)

 

Cristina Foglia 1990

The Book - Kulturstiftung Pierino Ambrosoli

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Preface

In the intents of its promoter, Mrs Daniela Ambrosoli, the constitution of the Pierino Ambrosoli Cultural Foundation should represent a kind of continuity of her father's long fruitful activity. A continuity, which does not materialise, however, in profit-making undertakings but in putting those profits bequeathed to her by her father to the service of young people who have chosen artistic disciplines such as music and dance. A distribution of wealth which Daniela Ambrosoli feels as a sort of moral inheritance; almost as if, by means of the Foundation, Pierino Ambrosoli can dedicate to forms of artistic expression that attention and energy which he had lavished on business while alive.

As a matter of fact the choice to direct funds towards music and dance is connected to experiences and places bound hand in glove to the history of the town of Ascona, of which Pierino Ambrosoli was a citizen. Dance particularly has profound roots in the experiences of the pioneers of Monte Verità; especially as far as the new expressive forms, which it has assumed since the first few decades of the last century are concerned. On the slopes of the hill, in the flowering of a culture which we could define as alternative, the dance forms took shape in the first few decades of the last century; these then developed into modern dance.

In the beautiful volume which reconstructs the environment, the human and artistic wealth of the community which populated Monte Verità, Harald Szeemann notes: "With Rudolf von Laban and his pupils, Mary Wigman, Katia Wulff and Suzanne Perrottet, Monte Verità was the stronghold of the reform of the human body, of natural expressive dance which had its own recognised temple in the San Materno Theatre, constructed in Ascona in 1927." As witness to the propelling stimulus which the school of the movement found in Ascona we can further read: "Dance, possibly more than any other artistic expression, looked for new ways on the Mount, above all for the occasional or continuous presence of personalities like Isadora Duncan, Charlotte Bara, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman and for the influence of the rhythmic of Dalcroze."

In those years were focused the elements of that anti-academic dance, which would then flower into so-called modern dance, later brought to the finest expressive and didactic levels by the great Martha Graham. Today numerous dance schools have taken their ABC of modern dance from the teachings of Graham.

Therefore it was not by chance that dance catalysed the attention of Daniela Ambrosoli , who in her childhood years spent in Ascona still heard the people of that town tell of what happened at Monte Verità, tales which were often a mixture of irony and local colouring. But the attention which Daniela Ambrosoli dedicates to modern dance is also due to a factor which can be defined as genetic: in her youth her mother, Sonja, had the chance to dance in the company of Mary Wigman, who, having settled in Dresden, had founded a school which may have represented the most important centre of free dance of post-war times.

So a concurrence of elements, not really casual in nature, as can be seen, led to the constitution of the Pierino Ambrosoli Cultural Foundation with the aims which Daniela Ambrosoli wanted to give it. An inheritance in financial terms and an inheritance which can be defined as moral have made it into reality.

From sewing machines to "Jeeps"

Speaking about a character to whom a charitable initiative is linked is an operation which implies some risks. The risk, which it is easy to run, of beatifying him, a bit as is done in homilies for the dead, or else the risk of giving a partial image, remembering only the professional or political or family side to him. In fact no-one, or very few, live for one cause only. So too Pierino Ambrosoli, like many common mortals, lived between work - which, it is true, was a very important part of his life - family and friends. He was actively involved in politics, although not for long, and made a decisive contribution to sport, especially football in the Locarno region.

Nonetheless Pierino Ambrosoli was a character of his age, a man of character with great entrepreneurial talents: in fact we can say that he incarnated the image of the "self-made man", the business man able to get on by himself, courageous in his decisions, confident in his abilities and profoundly determined. A figure closely attached to a precise historical period, between the two wars, a favourable moment for whoever was able to read the chances, which were created, certainly not speculating on the misery of others. A man of the modern age, whose story is closely bound to another symbol of modernity: the car.

Pierino was one of the third generations of Ambrosolis resident in Locarno. His grandfather, Pietro, came to Ticino from nearby Lombardy at the same time as a mishap which remains written in the annals of the history of the region: the collapse of the roof of the collegiate church of Saint Anthony. Like many others he found work in the laborious reconstruction. The naturalisation of Enrico Ambrosoli and his children took place in 1912, followed by admission to the patrician society of Verscio. Pierino was born in May 1905, the second of three children. His father, Enrico Ambrosoli, was the owner of a mechanical workshop in Piazza Grande with his brother; one of those shops which seem to be the symbol of a way of life which today is often regretted, partly wrongly and partly rightly. The photos of the period have immortalised it on the square, so empty as to seem bigger, with a sign over the door announcing bicycle and sewing machine repairs. An advertisement of the time invites cyclists to buy the famous Peugeot bicycle, "the best and favourite". And beside the drawing of a perfect Frenchman on a bicycle, beret, striped shirt, prominent moustache and all, it is pointed out that in the Ambrosoli "stores" in Lugano and Locarno a vast assortment of two-wheeled vehicles is to be found, but not only: repairs are carried out, oil and petrol are sold, as are sewing machines and typewriters, and finally cars are for hire.

Cars and sewing machines: a combination which may appear a bit strange nowadays, but in those days people weren't in the habit of specialising, and the more one was able to do the better.

The passion for four wheels and an engine had infected Enrico Ambrosoli for some time, and in 1898 he already owned one of the first, if not the first, vehicle in Locarno. Would-be drivers had to refer to him for their driving licence, as he was also the first driving examiner in the region. His business must have done well, because soon Enrico Ambrosoli was the owner of the building, which stood where the Coop building is today. Enrico Ambrosoli was a shrewd man and knew the importance of giving his children an education. After the senior secondary school in Locarno Pierino, his brother, Giannetto, and then their sister, Enrica, were sent to the German part of Switzerland to those then well-known colleges of austere appearance in Schwyz, where languages were learnt. With their expectations for their business, which looked more interesting than ever with the arrival of the first cars, Enrico Ambrosoli and his wife took care to give their male sons, as was the custom then, a solid preparation so as to be able to guarantee the continuity of the family business.

The rigid environment of the colleges on the other side of the Alps and study can't have made the young, lively Pierino enthusiastic; he once even managed to escape briefly from the college of Schwyz: a short flight which ended within a few hours as his father, on seeing him arrive at the house door early in the morning, sent him back with a scolding on the first train headed beyond the Saint Gotthard. Their sister, Enrica, was always particularly attached to this "big brother" and in spite of some little whim, remembers him as brilliant in his studies, as moreover in everything he set about doing.

It was the twenties and, as they had now learned languages, it was time for the business school in Saint Gallen, followed by technical studies in engineering in Mittweiden in Germany. When these were finished their father sent the two boys to Paris for a couple of years. Certainly not to breathe in the wind of the Bohème, or to taste the atmosphere of the artistic avant-garde - Enrico was a practical man - but to gain experience in a garage. To be exact the Saint Augustin Garage, in which Enrico Ambrosoli owned a share, together with another man from Locarno, a Pedrazzini, who had emigrated there.

When they came back to Locarno in 1929, the period of the great depression, Pierino and his brother, Giannetto, for all their lives inseparable business partners, were ready to take up the reins of the Piazza Grande workshop, which had already become a real garage.

On one of his brief returns from Paris Pierino Ambrosoli had an important sentimental meeting; the woman who a few years later would become his first wife. At that time there was a ballerina in Locarno whose artistic name had something Russian about it, even if she was not Russian. Sonja Bragowa, who in fact was born in Stuttgart, had gone to the conservatory but had then left, taken as she was by her passion for dance. At first under the guidance of the director of the Stuttgart Opera and then in Hamburg she chose the stream of modern dance. Chance decreed that one of the leading exponents of the modern movement, Mary Wigman, who at that time had her school in Dresden, was looking for a ballerina for her ballet corps. So it was that the name of Sonja Bragowa, who had already been her pupil, appeared on the billboards and in the newspaper reviews of that period. Having spent two intense years in Wigman's company, she opted for a genre then much in vogue: the great revue, a festival of extravagant costumes and music, which was all the rage in those days. She worked at the Wintergarten, in Teddy Stauffer's show, which ran for a whole year in the best-known theatre in Berlin, and then with Stauffer's company went on a long tour of Italy, where she had the chance to perform with the most loved soubrette of the time, Wanda Osiris. When it was possible for him to do so, Pierino Ambrosoli moved to the cities where Sonja's company was working. Until the day when he proposed that she leave the stage and marry him. Sonja would have liked to open a dance school with a colleague of hers. But things turned out differently and her heart won over her career, which in those days was certainly not a frequent choice for a woman.

Sonja and Pierino Ambrosoli became husband and wife, and her active life in show business was ousted by domestic tranquillity. They settled in Ascona where their daughter, Daniela, was born.

Before the outbreak of the Second World War the Ambrosoli Brothers had opened a branch for the sale of cars in Zurich, in Seefeldstrasse. The activity stopped temporarily during the war period. But the army needed cars, so it turned to the two brothers from Locarno, who, as representatives for the American Dodge for all of Switzerland, owned 60 cars. The cars were put at the disposal of the army, which paid a daily amount for each vehicle. At the end of the war the cars, still in good condition, were returned to the Ambrosoli garage. Although times were miserable for many there were some people who did not want to do without what had already become a status symbol, the car. So it was that the sixty Dodge were sold like hot cakes and the two brothers suddenly had rosy development prospects in front of them.

In 1946 the new garage premises open in St Peterstrasse. Two steps away from the central Bahnhofstrasse the new company makes a show of metres and metres of window, where the bright "Americans" shine. The garage is the emblem of efficiency and modernity: no longer small dark shops, but light open spaces and long corridors provided with shelves where spare parts for all the models are lined up in order. The business of the Ambrosoli Brothers knows a moment of great expansion, thanks above all to the far-sightedness of Pierino Ambrosoli, who makes good use of his flair for business. In the same year the two brothers obtain the sole agency for all Switzerland as representatives of a vehicle, which will turn out to be their lucky break: the Jeep. It is the beginning of a big business with 30 sales outlets spread over all the national territory and which in 30 years of exclusive rights will lead to the sale of at least 20,000 Jeeps.

These strong unstoppable vehicles arrive by ship from the other side of the Atlantic and then arrive in Basle on barges which ply the Rhine.The cases with the separate parts are opened in a workshop in Basle from which the assembled brand-new Jeeps come out headed for the five sales outlets of the Ambrosoli Brothers: Zurich, Lausanne, Basle, Geneva and, of course, Locarno.

The St Peterstrasse garage gave work to a good number of people, (the firm finally had as many as 200 employees), many of whom remained in the service of the Ambrosolis for years. And not by chance: today many still remember Pierino Ambrosoli's affection for his employees: in spite of his serious almost severe air, he made himself liked for the attention which he dedicated to their problems and for the generosity with which he often rewarded the deserving and helped the more needy. Not very loquacious, almost reserved, he did not incarnate the figure of the modern "manager" as much as that of the "boss" of bygone days. The employees addressed him as "signor Pierino" and looked up to him with respect and a certain fear. He was demanding as far as punctuality was concerned, however he did not fail to give them a good example and could usually be seen arriving at work at 8 a.m.

It sometimes happened that during his weekly visits to Zurich he took a Ticinese friend with him. Pierino Ambrosoli's affection for Ticino, especially for the Locarno area, was proverbial. All those close to him knew how little he liked travelling, if not to give himself a little holiday at the Lido of Venice, or in Montecarlo, and how much he loved to stay between Ascona and Locarno, in the company of a group of friends at the grotto or restaurant.

A couple of his journeys with friends had adventurous endings, to put it mildly, and those who experienced them with him remember even today. Fedele Cavalli, his collaborator for many years, remembers delightful episodes. On a winter evening of 1941 the four friends were travelling aboard a "Willys", with headlights out, as the law prescribed. The car left the badly delimited road and ended upside down in the muddy grounds of the Saleggi. In a jiffy the four passengers were blocked inside the car and soaked in petrol. Another time, coming down from the Monti, the car jumped over the edge of the road and got stuck on the poles of a vineyard: miraculously no one was hurt.

Although he wasn't a great sportsman Pierino Ambrosoli loved to go hunting in the grounds of the Saleggi, which then swarmed with small wild animals. But more than anything else these too were chances to stay in the company of his friends and end the day with a merry dinner. He also showed his affection for his land of origin by promoting public works among which we remember a donation to the La Carità hospital and a grant for Ticinese students. Many also remember the enthusiasm with which he sponsored the Locarno Football Club and favoured the construction of the tribune at the Lido stadium. For a brief period - to be exact in 1948 - he also sat on the Town Council of Ascona in the ranks of the Liberal party; his help to the Ascona Sporting Union was decisive too.

Pierino Ambrosoli never thought seriously of leaving the Locarno area. An attempt to move to Zurich immediately after the war did not last long; although his wife very much loved the atmosphere of the city on the Limmat, which in those days pulsed with life, he showed signs of nostalgia and after a short stay decided to return to Ticino with his family.

The car and Jeep business was flourishing by now. But Pierino Ambrosoli was not the kind of person to rest on his laurels, and in the fifties he decided to invest the company profits in the real estate sector. His flair for business had led him to realise buying and selling operations before, but it was a question of opportunities seized on the spot, with that decision which everyone knew in him by then. Thus for example the Tonascia holding was bought and resold in the space of twenty-four hours; it was a farm in difficulty which Pierino Ambrosoli passed to Giuseppe Rampazzi and which is known today as the Terreni alIa Maggia. Far-sighted, he had founded a small farming consortium during the difficult times of the war to cope with the lack of vegetables and grain.

Among the lightning transactions, which are still remembered by his ex-collaborators was the purchase of the Metropole Hotel of Locarno. The hotel, as Renato Perucchi (his "right hand" for many years) remembers, boasted a marvellous water lift in its inventory. An old glory of the Locarno area hotel industry, the Metropole stood where the Globus building is today. It was his second real estate purchase in town (the first was the San Galli Garage, on via Luini, today Moto Maggetti). He kept it for a couple of years and then the Metropole passed into other hands. Pierino Ambrosoli regretted the operation almost immediately, so much so that he tried in vain to regain ownership of the hotel.

The turning point in the real estate activity comes in the fifties when the Ambrosoli Brothers expand their range of action from the Locarno area to Zurich. In the city on the Limmat commercial buildings and blocks of flats are built, the purchase of grounds is promoted. The branch of immovable properties is consolidated in Locarno and Ascona too, with the construction of several houses, until in 1968 the activity of the real estate sector is officially separated from the car sector.

Tourism, the vocation of the region, is another field in which the Ambrosoli Brothers do not delay in establishing themselves. Perhaps because of the bitter feeling left after the sale of the Metropole Hotel, or perhaps because his flair for business tells him that is the road to follow, Pierino Ambrosoli sets his sights on hotels. First the Delta is built, on the left bank of the Maggia, and then the Eden Roc, on the lakefront of Ascona.

An untiring man of a thousand resources, Pierino Ambrosoli accepts the challenge of something new and loves to diversify his fields of activity: from gravel extraction, with the purchase of a large piece of ground on the left bank of the mouth of the Maggia, he passes to hotels. Later he abandons the activity linked to the gravel sector to give more space to the Delta camping site, created in 1957 by Renato Perucchi and managed from 1981 by Alberto Battiston, two men whose lives are closely bound to the Ambrosoli family, both having given their service for almost 50 years.

Today the owner of the campsite is Pierino Ambrosoli's daughter, Daniela, who with her husband Franz Marcacci, has given a decisive impetus to the activity. The clearance of the area following criteria most respectful of the environment, the creation of recreational and cultural spaces, like the amphitheatre on the water, and careful management have made the Delta camp site one of the best- known in Europe. Since 1999, Camping Delta is run by Mila Merker, son of Daniela Ambrosoli, in the fourth generation.

But let's go back to the seventies. For Pierino Ambrosoli, sustained until shortly before by excellent health, an inexorable physical decline begins. Illness devours his organism. However, thanks to the willpower, which has always accompanied him, he resists the illness with courage. Those close to him witness with impotence the diminishing of the energy, which seemed to be inextinguishable. The lucidity and awareness with which he faces the therapy lead him to earn respect and admiration in these circumstances too. The tumour cuts off Pierino Ambrosoli's life on 17th March 1975 at the age of 70. He leaves his brother, Giannetto, his inseparable business partner, his second wife, Thildy, with their daughter, Barbara, and his firstborn, Daniela, with her mother, Sonja; his sister, Enrica, with his niece and nephews, Brunella, Giampiero and Enrico.

After the death of her father, Daniela Ambrosoli wants to remember the figure of this man with the Foundation which bears his name, Pierino Ambrosoli Foundation; thanks to his deeds a desire long cherished can be realised. And at the same time that vein of generosity, which characterised her father's whole life can be strengthened.