…Biella, despite its factories, maintains the charm of old provincial Piedmont. It has remarkable monuments, but to better understand what bourgeois, commercial, and virtuous Piedmont of the late 19th century was like, it is good to stop in front of the ‘Eugenio Bona’ Commercial Institute. -A Robbian-style frieze with terracotta festoons embraces the entire building, but the main decoration consists of a row of words that surround the frieze. Decorative, yet didactic, they teach the virtues of a merchant: honesty, integrity, diligence, energy, providence, integrity, industriousness, constancy, initiative, perspicacity, astuteness, punctuality, character, loyalty, prudence, foresight, shrewdness, and firmness…

Guido Piovene in Viaggio in Italia, 1953-1956

The Regio Istituto Commerciale “Eugenio Bona” was inaugurated on November 4, 1913 thanks to a substantial donation from the entrepreneur Eugenio Bona, who wanted in Biella the first
secondary school in Italy that offered courses in business administration, industrial accounting, analysis and knowledge of goods, and practical teachings necessary to cover managerial and
administrative functions and conceptual roles in commercial, industrial, and banking companies.
Thus his plan was completed, shared also by other entrepreneurs convinced that the technical training of young people was of great value for themselves and for the future of the territory:
Pietro Sella had opened the technical school in Mosso in 1865, Quintino Sella had founded the first Italian professional school in Biella in 1869, which is now ITIS, and Felice Piacenza the
Lanificio school, where, according to a practical and innovative vision, specialized technicians for the local territory.

Who enters the school is impressed by the beauty and attention to details. The building that Eugenio Bona wanted for his school was supposed to be stunning and in the center of Biella that was designed by the engineer Stefano Molli from Turin in Florentine Renaissance style and decorated with polychrome glazed ceramics by the Cantagalli’s company from Florence, active since the end of the fifteenth century. At the Cantagalli entry of the encyclopedia Treccani it is stated that among the outstanding production of manufactory, the decorations in the style of Robbia, the friezes and the windows of the “E.Bona” institute in Biella are worth remembering. All this search into beauty was born from the belief that the quality of the school environment would be fundamental in shaping young people to elegance,having good taste and being able to create good and beautiful fabric.

The solid technical-commercial preparation and the emphasis on beauty, which is the synonym of quality work, have made the Bona Institute a breeding ground for technicians, professionals,
entrepreneurs and executives, distinguished also at national and international levels.

The Bona Museum is located inside the school. Its reorganization is in the phase of compilation, a substantial part has already been cataloged from the Biella archives network center, but all
interiors of the building are a museum: the chemistry laboratories, the environments with their original furnishings, the big closet in the main corridor on the ground floor which houses a
conspicuous and unique collection of glass jars with samples of raw materials. Various objects are kept as instruments used in general and industrial physics, natural science, chemistry and
merchandise laboratories, and textile technology laboratories. In the museum which is located next to the library, there are two working weaving looms, the machinery and tools were purchased by the school itself or donated by local entrepreneurs, like Zegna, to provide students with solid, adequate and in many cases progressive preparation.
There are also artworks, a rich library, valuable collections relating to textile technology, economics, legal subjects, merceology and to marketing. From 1931 to 1951 there was a meteorological observatory dependent on the Central Observatory of Meteorology and Climatology of Rome to study the relationships between environment and industry which published a daily bulletin. Everything is accompanied by a beautiful photographic collection that is preserved in the institute but digitized and visible in Biella at the ‘Spazio and Cultura of the
Cassa di Risparmio Foundation’.

Via Antonio Gramsci, 22, 13900 Biella BI
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