Room VI. The Carlo Grassi Collection

This room houses part of the Carlo Grassi collection of bronzes, donated by his widow Nedda Grassi to Pope Pius XII.
Carlo Grassi, a wealthy businessman, moved to Cairo when very young and made his fortune first in the exportation of tobacco, then in real estate and navigation. He accumulated significant wealth in just a few years, enabling him to create a collection of antiquities and paintings first from the nineteenth and later the twentieth centuries, owing to his friendship with Giacomo Balla. His only son Igino would have inherited this extraordinary treasure had he not volunteered to join the army, meeting death in the battle of el-Alamein.
After the death of Carlo Grassi, his widow Nedda Miele Grassi decided to perpetuate the memory of her husband and son by donating the archaeological material of the family collection to the Vatican Museums in 1951, while the paintings and collections of oriental art were donated to the Municipality of Milan in 1956.
An inscription in the wall above the door to the room commemorates its inauguration, at the time dedicated exclusively to the Grassi Collection. The refined nature of the selection and the excellent execution of the bronzes should come as no surprise, since Grassi loved to be surrounded by Egyptologists and archaeologists, often inviting them to his home, which became a meeting place for scholars and intellectuals of the time.