‹‹Got to the stage of cutting one’s teeth, now that I start orienting myself, I’m feeling great satisfactions.

Sometimes even something more; maybe that thing which we’ve been fighting for for years without getting it: the happiness.››

Tito Balestra, Diario di Casimiro Reis, 1946.


The collection acquired by Tito Balestra is undoubtedly one of the largest modern and contemporary art collections in the Emilia-Romagna region. Visitors can find traces of the greatest Italian artists of the 20th century (including Mafai, Rosai, De Pisis, Sironi, Guttuso, Morandi, Vespignani and Zancanaro), as well as international artists (including Chagall, Goya, Kokoschka, Matisse and Twombly). The number of works by Mino Maccari is particularly large, as he was a close friend of Tito Balestra – and his best man at Tito’s wedding – as well as an important figure of the Italian art from the second half of the twentieth century. His 1903 artworks in our collection, including oils and graphics, show his artistic activity from 1920 to 1976, constituting almost an independent museum.

The collection is the result of the many relationships of exchange and friendship that Tito had within the artistic and cultural world of the second post-war period. He was a very particular collector, guided by a unique passion and sensitivity, which was far from fashions, opportunism and the purely economic dynamics of the market. Tito Balestra was not influenced in his choices by anything other than his own spirit and his own taste, which led him to visually integrate his own poetics through collecting. Tito Balestra was a true lover, able to gather around him art which is often destined to dissolve shortly after being born: the collection includes many sketches, second thoughts and scraps of some artists’ production that Balestra recovered and jealously conserved, recognising the value of those works which the artists themselves denied. Other works have become part of our collection through gifts, barters, exchanges and less frequently actual purchases: this is a sign of how the collection was nourished at each meeting and represents a life path, full of friends and passions. He was a dedicated spectator, but also a protagonist of a great artistic season in Rome, spanning from 1946 to 1976. This is the time covered by the main corpus of the collection, which also includes precious works by foreign artists.