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Antonio Massara

Antonio Massara (Meina 1878 – Como 1926), whose family was from Novara, came to Pallanza in 1904 to teach at the Royal Grammar School.  He had a degree in arts and philosophy.

While still living in Novara he had conducted some important studies on local culture (the philosopher Pier Lombardo, popular culture, the painter Gaudenzio Ferrara), and on arriving in Pallanza he perceived that the most valuable aspect of the Lake Maggiore area was its landscape. He believed that its authenticity was threatened by tourism, industry and property speculation.

Massara was convinced that the landscape could be defended not from “above”, through restrictive laws, but from “below”, through a new awareness on the part of the people. Accordingly, he set out to raise people’s consciousness and spread this message, with the result that in 1909, two vehicles were constituted to achieve the desired end: a journal, “Verbania”, and a museum, the “Historical and Artistic Museum of Lake Maggiore and its neighbouring valleys”, later to be called Museo del Paesaggio, or “Landscape Museum”. And “his” museum gave space to the works of artists who were able to communicate the spirit of the Lake Maggiore landscape: Gignous, Boggiani and his beloved Tominetti, among others.

Antonio Massara was appointed Advisor to the National Association for Landscapes and Picturesque Monuments of Italy in 1909, and was on the National Committee for the defence of the Landscape and Italian Monuments in 1913. 

 

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