Angelo Dalle Molle

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Angelo Dalle Molle
Born4 November 1908[1]
Occupation(s)businessman, philanthropist
Known forCynar, Dalle Molle Foundation

Angelo Dalle Molle (4 November 1908 – 2001) was an Italian businessman and Utopian philanthropist. In 1952 he invented and patented Cynar, a bitter aperitivo based on artichoke leaves.

Business life[edit]

Dalle Molle was born in Mestre, on the lagoon of Venice, on 4 November 1908. After the Second World War he and his brothers took over G.B. Pezziol, a distillery in the Arcella quarter of Padova; there, with the help of Rino Dondi Pinton, they developed Cynar, a bitter aperitivo/digestivo based on artichoke leaves.[2] It was launched and patented in 1948[3] or 1952,[4] and quickly became popular, partly as a result of the slogan "contro il logorio della vita moderna", "against the stress of modern life", and the appearances on Carosello of Ernesto Calindri drinking it in the midst of the Milan traffic.[2] The company later acquired the Crodo mineral water company which made the non-alcoholic bitter aperitivo Crodino.[4] In 1976 he sold his company to the Dutch group Bols (though he retained the rights to the slogan); he then used the proceeds of the sale to buy a controlling share-holding.[4] He also bought the Villa La Barbariga [it] at Stra,[5] on the Brenta Canal [it], and became a patron of the arts and of social and scientific research.

Patronage and projects[edit]

Dalle Molle believed that information technology could or should improve the quality of life, and established the Fondation Dalle Molle pour la qualité de la vie, or Dalle Molle Foundation for the Quality of Life, in 1971 to promote research into ways in which it might do so, including artificial intelligence. Through it he set up four research institutes in Switzerland.

Research institutes[edit]

The Dalle Molle Institute for Semantic and Cognitive Studies or Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi Semantici e Cognitivi was established in Lugano in 1972 to conduct research into the application of artificial intelligence to linguistics and automated translation. It became part of the faculty of translation and interpreting of the University of Geneva in 1976.[6]

In 1988 he started the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence Research or Istituto Dalle Molle di Studi sull'Intelligenza Artificiale, also in Lugano, to undertake research into machine learning and adaptation. It became a public research institute in 2000, and is affiliated with the Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana and the Università della Svizzera italiana in Lugano.[6]

The Centre de Recherches sur les Plantes Médicinales et Aromatiques or Mediplant was also established in 1988, in Conthey in the Canton du Valais.[7]

The Istituto Dalle Molle di Intelligenza Artificiale Percettiva was set up in Martigny in the Canton du Valais in 1991, the twentieth anniversary of the Fondation Dalle Molle, in collaboration with the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne and local, cantonal and federal government bodies. Its purpose was to research applications of artificial intelligence to human perception. It became independent of the Fondation in 1996, and is now called the Idiap Research Institute.[8]

Dalle Molle also founded the Centro Studi della Barbariga, which among other projects designed a series of electric vehicles, including cars, a taxi, a van and an ambulance. About 200 of them were built, in a small manufactory in the gardens of the villa.[9] Seven cars are now in the collection of the Museo dell'automobile Bonfanti-Vimar [it] at Romano d'Ezzelino in the province of Vicenza, in the Veneto.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Dalle Molle had relationships and children with several women. He was married only twice. His first wife was either Pierina Altieri[4] or Edes Zago,[11] and ended with a papal annulment;[11] he adopted her son.[4] He had five other children with two other women. At the age of 90 he married Eleonora Bötner, who was 40 years younger, and to whom on his death in 2001 he left about €32 million.[11]


  1. ^ The Work. Fondation Dalle Molle. Archived 12 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b Luca Perin (6 December 2021). Padova, Rino Dondi Pinton compie 100 anni: è il papà del Cynar (in Italian). Il Mattino di Padova. Torino: GEDI Gruppo Eidtoriale. Accessed June 2023.
  3. ^ Angelo Dalle Molle (in Italian). Stra: Centro Studi Barbariga. Accessed June 2023.
  4. ^ a b c d e Fabrizio Massaro (6 July 2009). Milano Finanza - Il logorio dell'eredità Cynar (in Italian). Studio La Scala. Accessed September 2014.
  5. ^ Giorgio Cecchetti (17 February 2009). L’eredità di mister Cynar (in Italian). La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre. Accessed September 2014.
  6. ^ a b Fabio Mariani (25 December 2001). Dagli studi sulla semantica all'apprendimento con rinforzo (in Italian). Swissinfo. Bern: Società svizzera di radiotelevisione SRG SSR. Accessed June 2023.
  7. ^ Max Kasparek, Andreas Gröger, Uwe Schippmann (1996). Directory for Medicinal Plants Conservation: Networks, Organizations, Projects, Information Sources. [Gland, Switzerland]; Bonn, Germany: IUCN/SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group; Bundesamt für Naturschutz. ISBN 9783896246066.
  8. ^ Research Institute Idiap, Martigny. Fondation Dalle Molle. Accessed September 2014.
  9. ^ Claudio Pavanello (3 June 2013). Auto elettrica e car sharing: l'inventore del Cynar li immaginava già negli anni '70 (in Italian). Accessed September 2014.
  10. ^ Vintage d'auto elettrica al Museo dell'Automobile "Bonfanti-Vimar" (in Italian). Museo dell'Automobile Bonfanti-Vimar. Accessed September 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Roberto Rizzo (21 February 2009). La Dynasty familiare del signor Cynar (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. Accessed September 2014.