The founder

Gerolamo Gaslini was a great entrepreneur. He was a business man and a philanthropist. He dedicated himself and donated his assets to the creation of the Giannina Gaslini Institute.

He was born in Monza on July 3rd 1877. His father was Gerolamo Gaslini.
His father was a small business owner in the sector of the olive oil production. The young Gerolamo wanted to seek fortune in America. When he arrived in Genoa to board the ship to The United States he couldn’t board it and from then on his personal history and that of the city were forever intertwined.

I had something like 100 Italian lire in my pocket – he told later – but the ticket to board the steamship cost 400 Italian lire. Therefore I started to work in the port and after two years I actually had a small capital but I lost it and lost it again.
In the following years he was very successful especially in the food farming sector. He started working for the family company and ended up becoming the king of the olive oil production.
He created a huge business based on his commercial skills, the very first marketing and technological techniques
He married Lorenza in 1902 and they had two daughters: Germana in 1903 and Giannina in 1905. Giannina died in 1917 because of an undiagnosed peritonitis. This was an incredibly painful event for him..

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Con and Lorenza in 1920

 He wanted to react and he created a project to take care of children. It took it several years for the pediatric hospital to become a reality. The deed of the incorporation of the Giannina Gaslini Institute was signed in 1931 and the hospital was actually built in 1938: it was a structure built in the Eastern part of Genoa. It was made of 20 different properties with 500 beds.

Figlie Giannina e GermanaDaughters Germana and Giannina.

After the Second World War, Gerolamo Gaslini thought of how to improve and develop the Institute. Therefore he set up the Foundation in 1949. He donated all of his assets to the Foundation. It was some tens of billions of lire in the value of that time.

In 1957 he was granted the honorary degree in Medicine by the University of Genoa. This event only further boosted his trust in the relationship between science and medicine.
He received other titles and honors during his life: San Gerolamo Count, Senator of the Kingdom, Knight of Labour. The people who knew him described him as a tough, private person, a great worker and an extremely generous man.

He gifted the Italian state with important works and collections. He bought the Pietà Prenestina and donated it to the State. He renovated the Saint Gerolamo Abbey in Quarto and made donations to Saint Anthony Church in Padua and the Jesus Christ Church in Rome. He gave the Brera Academy and the University of Genoa a collection of rare manuscripts and incunables that bear a huge economic, cultural and historical value.

He died in Genoa in 1964.     

The history of the Giannina Gaslini Institute and the Foundation are a great reminder of the passion, perseverance and innovative vision of its founder.