The illustrious historian Gaetano Cozzi (Zero Branco 1922-Venezia 2001), board member of Fondazione Benetton from the beginning (1987) and promoter of its scientific activities, bequeathed to the Foundation an eight hectare complex in the municipality of Zero Branco, consisting of a house with rustic outbuildings and farmland. The professor lived and studied for many years in this house with his wife Luisa Zille (Fossò 1941-Venezia 1995), scholar and lover of poetry and music. In the spirit of the bequest, the Foundation carried out conservative restoration on the house and reorganised the farm, rationalising inter-estate lanes and planting a new garden.
The house is divided into two parts, one which is lived in by the family of Roberto Paglia, the professor’s old helper, who take care of the property and are employed as its wardens. The second part of the house is fitted with a small library, collecting some of the scholar’s documentary archive in agreement with the library of the Zero Branco municipality, with a spacious meeting room, and is furnished to house guests.
Casa Cozzi is the natural setting for the annual scholarship award ceremony named after the professor, as well as seminars on the theme of the history of games. In accordance with the bequest, thanks to the close and invaluable cooperation of the Cozzi family, music education activities are organised, in memory of Luisa Zille —whose prestigious Bechstein piano is preserved — with training workshops on composition, on music teaching methods, or aimed at perfecting instrumental practice.
The farm is managed in cooperation with local farmers, and offers a laboratory of agricultural landscape for the recovery of biodiversity through correct maintenance of riparian hedges and ditches, avoiding the use of chemicals.