Rossi, Teofilo

Name: Rossi, Teofilo
Alternative Names: Conte di Montelera
Gender: Male
Birth: October 27, 1865 Chieri
Death: December 29, 1927 Torino
Description: Count Teofilo Rossi di Montelera served as Vice-president of the Executive Committee for the Turin 1911 Exposition. After earning a degree in Jurisprudence from the University of Turin in 1886, Teofilo Rossi divided his interests between business and politics. His father, Luigi, had started a successful liqueur and aromatized wine industry with partners Alessandro Martini and Teofilo Sola: today the brand is known as Martini&Rossi. The international success of the brand was quick due to a number of strategic choices, including using the competitive stage of the International Expositions such as Paris 1878 (gold medal); Milan 1881; Bordeaux 1882; Antwerp 1885, etc., and opening satellite production and commercialization sites in Barcelona, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Yokohama, and Kobe.

Teofilo Rossi was a cultured man, with life-long interests in history and literature (especially Dante). He was one of the founders of the Societa' Storica Subalpina (1895) and the creation of the Biblioteca Storica Subalpina, a series of publications devoted to the study of the Piedmontese Middle Ages. With Ferdinando Gabotto, Rossi also co-authored the massive Storia di Torino and a vast number of articles on the Italian Risorgimento, which articulated a narrative of national unity for 19th century Italy.

His wealth allowed him to devote himself to politics and public engagement. He was the Mayor of Turin from 1909 to 1917.  He was part of the Consiglio Comunale for the city of Turin (1896-1923) and of the Chamber of Commerce, where he served as President from 1902 to 1909 and again from 1921 to 1927. He was named Senator of the Kingdom of Italy in 1909. On the 50th anniversary of the Unification of Italy and on the occasion of the inauguration of the Exposition of Turin 1911, King Victor Emmanuel III bestowed upon him the title of Count of Montelera. His political alliances were always in the Giolitti's camp and he favored non-interventionist (neutrality) positions, though when Italy entrered World War I on the side of France and England in 1915, he found himself forced to support the war effort, ultimatly resigning from his mayoral post in 1917.

He served as Minister of Industry and Trade from 1922 to 1923, having pledged his allegiance to Mussolini after the March on Rome.

The golden age of Teofilo Rossi's political career (1909-1914) saw his participation in the diplomatic manouevres that resulted in the alliance with France, England and Russia (Entente Cordiale), and the separation from Austria and Germany (Triple Alliance) --manoeuvres that Rossi contribued to in his leadership role for the exposition. The exposition was in fact an effort to re-position the city of Turin in the changing European landscape. Rossi also oversaw impressive infrastructure and urban renovation projects to propel Turin into modernity.  As one of the main leaders of the bourgeoise ideals, Rossi garnered protracted criticism from Antonio Gramsci in the pages of L'Avanti. 

See Teofilo Rossi: Il sindaco di Torino della grande esposizione.  Ed. Tomaso Ricardi di Netro. Torino: Centro di studi piemontesi, 2016
Places:  Chieri
Photographs: Teofilo Rossi_ritratto | Teofilo Rossi_portrait
Sculptures: Teofilo Rossi_busto | Teofilo Rossi_bust