Focus on Italy

Once again, Pirelli has included a specific focus on one of its geographical areas of operations: in 2006 the focus was on South America, in 2007 on Romania, and in 2008 the choice has fallen on Italy.

Details on certain important initiatives undertaken in 2008 are described below.


Created by the Milan Istituto dei Ciechi (Institute for the Blind) in partnership with Pirelli, Dialogo nel Buio is a walk-through exhibit installed in a space with absolutely no light, so that people with normal vision can enter the world of the blind and experience the problems and extraordinary abilities that the condition of being “challenged” causes one to develop. Pirelli has collaborated with the Institute since the programme began in 2005, with excellent results in terms of interest expressed by the public and schools.

The Group also has special relationships with some of the most important Italian non-governmental organisations (NGO). Pirelli is one of the founding members of Emergency, a neutral, non-political and independent humanitarian association created to provide free, top-quality medical care to the civilian victims of war, landmines and poverty worldwide.

Pirelli also provides institutional support to Children in Crisis Italy, an Italian association that is part of the international network Children in Crisis founded by the Duchess of York in 1993: active in 13 countries around the world, it works to improve the condition of children who are victims of conflict, poverty, disease or other grave problems.

In the field of solidarity, the Group also provides support to the association Sempre insieme per la Pace, which is committed to providing humanitarian aid at the international level.

Pirelli also provides support for children locally in the Milan area, through its contribution to the activities of associations like the Fondazione Boccafogli, dedicated to the recovery of juvenile delinquents by encouraging their artistic and expressive potential, or the Centro ausiliario per i problemi minorili, which seeks to ameliorate the condition of troubled youths, or the Milan institution Fondazione Asilo Mariuccia, which is dedicated to abandoned children.

In the medical field, Pirelli provides support to the Fondazione Benedetta d’Intino, which provides assistance for the treatment of autism and perceptive disorders in children, the Fondazione Giancarla Vollaro and the Associazione Marco Semenza, which operate in the cancer research field, and the Centro Dino Ferrari, which focuses on the study of neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Support for art and culture

Pirelli actively supports the promotion of the artistic heritage, talent and local resources of all the countries where it operates, through a model of active cooperation that combines the skills of its partners with its own expertise in the fields of technology, organisation and communication. The Group has longstanding and prestigious partnerships in the art world. Since late 2007, it is party to an agreement with the Triennale di Milano to design and develop joint projects in the field of industrial design. Its objective is to revive the relationship between business culture and design culture, image in architecture, city planning, visual arts, graphics, design and communication. This is a strategic alliance between two of the most important historic institutions in Milan, joined by a bond that stretches back to the 1950’s with the collaboration - as well as friendship and personal esteem - between the then Chairman Alberto Pirelli and Gio Ponti, the leading character in the history of the Triennale and who was commissioned to design the Pirelli Skyscraper.

In the ambit of this renewed partnership, the exhibition Un viaggio, ma… opened on 17 January 2008, having been conceived by Pirelli to launch the new Cinturato. To celebrate the new product and describe its complexity in terms of technological, communication, art and customs, Pirelli commissioned 15 contemporary artists and designers to freely interpret the Cinturato saga by using different media, from graphics to 3D animation, illustrations to photography, to site specific installations. They include speculative posters by Airstudio/Giacomo Spazio; graphic interpretations by Headscollective and Alessandro Busseni; the big tree by Leftloft and the Piovra Cinturata by Alberto Bettinetti; the tapestries by Elena Giavaldi; the visionary wall painting by Simone Tosca; the over-sized note pad by Marco Bruzzone, where everyone can leave a “trace of travel”; the natural sized tyre mace of liquorice by the food designer Ciboh (made with the generous support of the Amarelli company), the animated micro-narrative by Andrea Linke that recounts the journey with the view of a giant; the solitary adventures of a tyre recounted in a humorous vein by Graziano Mannu; the interactive landscape of the installation by Claudio Sinatti; the photographs taken by Luca Gabino on the Vizzola d’Adda test track transformed into what seems to be a space centre; and, finally, the photo story of travel over time by Carlo Furgeri Gilbert. These 15 works were flanked by materials from the advertising campaigns between 1954 and 1972, as illustrated by original sketches, films and products. Many of them, never shown in public before, were created by major designers such as Bob Noorda, Pino Tovaglia, Franco Grignani, Ugo Mulas, Antonio Boggeri and Alan Fletcher: icons of style and linguistic innovation that in those years transmitted the unmistakable “Pirelli Style” to Italy and the world. The most famous of these might be the image with the oblique, stylised tyre tread mark of the Cinturato, created by Bob Noorda in 1962.

This exhibition, which was open to the public for a month, confirmed the Group’s interest, today as in the past, to the most advanced forms of linguistic and communication research: this attitude is fundamental for it to remain a model of industry not only in Italy, but worldwide, capable of melding innovation, research, creativity and quality.

The Group’s partnership with the Triennale di Milano was further reinforced in 2008 with Pirelli’s participation in the Rete dei Giacimenti del Design Italiano (“Network of Italian Design Deposits”), formed under the auspices of the Museo del Design at the Triennale, of which Pirelli is an institutional sponsor.

Since 2007 Pirelli has been party to an agreement with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation of Venice, which has enabled the Company to joint the small number of partner-companies belonging to the Intrapresae group and that, among other benefits, provides for free entry to all Pirelli employees and their families at the prestigious Palazzo Venier dei Leoni museum.


A. Bettinetti, “P_iovra,” January 2008.

A decade ago Pirelli signed an agreement to provide corporate support to the Brera Art Gallery, the oldest art collection in Milan and one of the most important in Europe, which is celebrating its bicentennial in 2009. The Group is providing institutional support to the gallery’s activity, and in particular restoration of the 16th century paintings from the Veneto Region exhibited in Room XIV. After the Pala Pesaro by Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo, the Company’s support also made it possible to build an innovative apparatus - designed by the architect Sottsass - that enables gallery visitors to view the paintings while they are being restored.

Pirelli has long been a member of the FAI - Fondo per l’Ambiente Italiano (National Trust for Italy), with which it has collaborated on various initiatives, including the organisation of art history courses for the public. During the 2007-2008 season, Pirelli and FAI were involved - with the patronage of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the Region of Lombardy, and the Province and City of Milan - in a new edition of I mercoledì dell’arte (Art Wednesdays), a series of 29 lessons at the University of Milan. This edition, entitled Meeting Asia, provided hundreds of people with the opportunity to improve their knowledge of Asian art through the contemporary period. The agreement has been renewed for the 2008-2010 period with Pirelli’s support for the new series of lessons on Regge italiane. Arte, storia, potere (Italian Palaces: Art, History, Power). The course will be held over a period of two years and will address the theme of the relationship between artistic heritage and systems of power, for a total of 54 lessons given by professors from various Italian universities. The first less, held on 29 September at the University of Milan, attracted a capacity audience.

Promotion of theatre and music

In 2008 Pirelli renewed its historic ties with the Teatro Franco Parenti, a theatre founded in 1996, when the Group decided to participate in the creation of the Fondazione Pier Lombardo. This foundation was established to support the growth of one of the most active, firmly rooted theatres in Milanese cultural life. Particularly committed to young artistic voices, in 2008 Pirelli sponsored the review Racconto italiano (“An Italian Story”), a journey through contemporary Italy in the form of plays, readings and debates, which are made accessible to everyone with an admission charge of 5 Euro. For two months, actors, playwrights and young writers traded places on stage of the Franco Parenti Theatre, stimulating the public to participate actively in thinking about the most topical and contradictory issues confronted by society today. The interest and participation of Pirelli employees in the theatre’s activity has steadily grown over the last several months, thanks in part to the awareness campaign that targeted them.

Pirelli’s support for the Franco Parenti Theatre will be renewed in 2009.

By joining the Group of Supporters, Pirelli also renewed its corporate support for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano, the first permanent publicly funded theatre in Italy. Giovanni Pirelli participated in its creation in 1947 as a founding member.

During the year, participation on the Progetto Galileo (“Galileo Project”) continued. This initiative by the Piccolo Teatro in collaboration with the Silvio Tronchetti Provera Foundation is aimed at using the theatre stage to encourage young people to study scientific disciplines. Launched in November 2007 with a performance of The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht before over 900 students from Milan middle and high schools, the project has developed with the Performing Galileo competition, an invitation to reinterpret the play with using the language and technology of multimedia youth culture. All received works were published on the website, created by the Milan Polytechnic, the initiative’s third partner. The best works, which were selected by a special jury, were rewarded at a ceremony held on 5 May at the Piccolo di Milano, in the presence of the city’s leading cultural authorities. The success of Performing Galileo 2008 has prompted the organisation of a second edition of the competition, to be held in 2009.

In October, the review Teatro Scienza 2008 (“Science Theatre 2008”) was sponsored by Pirelli. This event was dedicated to contemporary investigations into the relationship between the stage and scientific culture. Educational institutions, from elementary schools to universities, were directly involved with performance lessons, educational workshops, meetings, performances and the online competition “Attori del sapere” (“Actors of Knowledge”).

Moving from theatre to music, in 2008 Pirelli once again supported MITO SettembreMusica, an international music festival created in 2007 between Turin and Milan. A packed programme of classical, contemporary, jazz, rock, pop and ethic music concerts entertained the two cities during the month of September, with internationally famous orchestras and artists, such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philip Glass, Lou Reed and others. The events attracted large public turnout, thanks to the generally free admission to events.

School, education and research

In June 2008 Pirelli joined the foundation that operates the Scuola Materna G.B. Pirelli nursery school in Varenna, in the Province of Lecco. This initiative aims to recognise the merit of a nursery school operating in the birthplace of the Group’s founder.

The first two scholarships for final year students at the Liceo Classico Giosuè Carducci classical high school in Milan were awarded in December. Dedicated to the memory of Leopoldo and Giovanni Pirelli, they were established in 2007 by the association of former students of the high school with the Group’s support. The scholarships are worth 10 thousand Euro each and are awarded to needy students on the basis of merit. The “Giovanni Pirelli” scholarship is reserved for those undertaking humanistic studies, while the “Leopoldo Pirelli” scholarship is dedicated to those opting for scientific studies.

In April 2008 Pirelli and the Milan Polytechnic jointly announced the creation of a new professor’s chair: “Chemical Foundations of Rubber and Compound Technology”. This chair was the result of an agreement between the Group and the university, which also provides for scholarship funding of five doctorates over the course of ten years. Innovative materials and the application of nanotechnologies to the development of new generation tyres are being studied at the G. Natta Department of Chemistry, Materials and Chemical Engineering.

Joint research on tyres continued in 2008 within the framework of the five-year agreement made by Pirelli and the Turin Polytechnic in 2007, which was officially signed on 22 February 2008 at a ceremony held in the head office of the Region of Piedmont in Turin. As part of development of the New Industrial Centre at Settimo Torinese, one of the most modern and efficient tyre manufacturing plants in the world, the agreement calls for researchers at Pirelli and the Turin Polytechnic to collaborate on three cutting-edge technology projects in the tyre industry, first and foremost the “smart” Cyber Tyre. The programme kicked off on 29 May with a meeting between the two pools of researchers at the Pirelli general headquarters at Bicocca Milano. Francesco Profumo, President of the Turin Polytechnic, attended the event.

The Group is also contributing to a professor’s chair in Mechanical Engineering. All innovations resulting from this cooperative project will be developed at the New Industrial Centre.

Pirelli’s collaboration with the academic world also involves the University of Milan - Bicocca. Once again in 2008, Pirelli funded three research doctorates in the School of Science, through the Corimav (Consorzio ricerca materiali avanzati - advanced materials research consortium). Two of the scholarships are dedicated to the study of photovoltaic applications and the third to particulate filter technologies. Pirelli Labs researchers will work alongside university professors in specialised courses, seminars and tutoring. They will also provide students with an industrial perspective, which is necessary to work in the competitive technological society.

The relationship with universities and the scientific world also underlies Pirelli’s partnership with the Silvio Tronchetti Provera Foundation, whose mission is to promote research and the nurturing of talents in economics, science, technology and management through funding, awards, scholarships, and contributions to university and scientific institutions. This activity takes place either directly or in association with other parties, including a partnership with three universities: the Milan Polytechnic, the Luigi Bocconi Business University and the University of Milan - Bicocca, whose presidents sit on the Foundations board. In association with the Umberto Veronesi Foundation and the Giorgio Cini Foundation, over the past four years the Silvio Tronchetti Provera Foundation has promoted the Conference on the Future of Science, a three-day programme of presentations and discussions by world-famous scientists and researchers, including many Nobel Prize winners. After the Relationship between Scientific Knowledge and Human Life (2005), Evolution (2006), Environment (2007), the theme of the 2008 Conference, held in Venice from 24 to 27 September, was Food and Water for Life.

Bicocca Hangar

A key part of the Group’s relationship with the local area and community is the Hangar Bicocca. It is a dynamic place for the production, documentation, exhibition, promotion and dissemination of contemporary art whose mission is to explore and experiment with multidisciplinary approach to all visual and performing arts - and the other fields of contemporary knowledge. The Bicocca Hangar project originated with the opening to contemporary art of a vast industrial installation that once belonged to the Ansaldo Group and dedicated to the production of coils for the electric motors of trains.

The first step towards a new use of the building was direct involvement by internationally famous artists interested in taking up the challenge of a specific project that dialogues with a visually powerful space. The first installation was realised by Anselm Kiefer in September 2004, who executed the monumental permanent work I Sette Palazzi Celesti; and then other installations were created by Mark Wallinger and Marina Abramovic. The principal group shows hosted by the Bicocca Hangar in 2006 were Start@Hangar, followed in 2007 by Collateral, Quando l’Arte guarda il Cinema, Not Afraid of the Dark and Urban Manners. The exhibitions organised in 2008 were: a solo show by the young Italian artist Daniele Puppi entitled Fatica 16, Antarctica, a solo show by the Anglo-Argentine duo Lucy+Jorge Orta and the big retrospective It is difficult by Alfredo Jaar that was organised in collaboration with the Province of Milan. That show recently closed and was accompanied by the public project for Milan created by the artist.

Bicocca Hangar was transformed into a foundation in 2008, as a non-profit organisation subject to private law, and its current founding members are Pirelli RE, the Milan Chamber of Commerce and the Region of Lombardy. The MBA Group and AON Insurance Brokers have also joined as participating members. Among the various cultural communication initiatives sponsored by Pirelli RE are Great Architects: A journey in the mind of..., a series of DVDs created in collaboration with the magazine Interni: a journey through contemporary architectural culture, where the protagonists recount their design project and personal way of working.


For over a century, Pirelli has been involved not only in automobile and motorcycle racing but also other disciplines (cycling, athletics and tennis), testifying to its wide-ranging commitment to the most varied aspects of sport.

The Group’s commitment to soccer is known the world over through its sponsorship of F.C. Internazionale in Italy and other top-class teams including Palmeiras in Brazil, Peñarol in Uruguay, Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, and Basel in Switzerland. However, its commitment goes beyond professional soccer. Pirelli is involved in the promotion of sports culture, which means the promotion of responsible and ethical social interaction amongst young people.

This is the spirit behind the project “Leoni di Potrero - Calcio per tutti” (Protrero Lions - Soccer for Everyone), a free training centre supported by Pirelli & C. in association with the Inter Milan soccer players Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti, aimed at children between 5 and 12 years of age. The objective is to participate in the development of young students, by fostering positive values such as friendship, loyalty, fidelity, respect and tolerance. This represents a way to teach the concept of integration to children from different social classes, working to prevent negative situations like isolation and loneliness.