Mansutti Foundation

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Mansutti Foundation
Fondazione Mansutti
Established 2004; 18 years ago (2004)
Founder Francesco Mansutti
Type foundation
Purpose insurance history heritage
Headquarters Milan
  • Italy

The Mansutti Foundation is a private foundation in Milan, Italy. It is a non-profit organization that operates to protect and promote historical and artistic heritage related to the history of insurance.


The foundation was established in 2004 with the aim to collect and protect the library and heritage museum, which show the history of insurance from the 13th century. It also promotes studies and analysis on the economic, legal and social history of insurance. To achieve this goal, in 2013, the Foundation formed a Scientific Committee.[citation needed]


The foundation has a cultural heritage made up of four distinct collections: books, posters, policies and fire plates.

The library consists of about six thousand ancient books, modern books, and periodicals that focus on insurance history; there are also some manuscripts, including the usury treaty of Bernardino of Siena from the second half of the 15th century. The Foundation takes part within the Italian national libraries database and this book collection (old and modern books) can also be found in the OPAC of Istituto Centrale per il Catalogo Unico and the National Library Service.

The museum collections are a collection of about 2500 insurance policies, over 300 posters of insurance companies, and a fund of 837 fire plates collected in Italy and Hungary. The collection of policies includes specimens from all over the world, ranging from the second half of 16th century until the middle of 20th century. The oldest agreements were drawn by hand and provide for the carriage of goods by sea; the fund holds, among others, Maltese policies of the 19th century, policies on the lives of slaves, against the risk of the armed forces and those of the savings on investment from the balilla.

The posters, produced on behalf of Italian and foreign insurance companies, were produced between the second half of 19th century and the first half of 20th century. The most represented historical period is between 1890 and 1915, the golden age of poster. The most significant presence is Italian and French posters. The collection includes specimens from other countries, such as Switzerland, the Netherlands, Russia, China, and the United States.

The collection of fire plates, the gift of Vito Platania (a Florentine scholar and plates collector), consists of 637 plates of insurance companies in Italy from the early 19th century, and a collection of 200 Hungarian license plates. They were posted since 18th century at the entrance of the insured buildings, and they were intended to report the name of the company to private teams of firefighters who intervened in case of fire.


File:Fondazione Mansutti sala platania 2.JPG
Part of the museum exhibition.

In the Middle Ages, "quaderni di sicurtà" was the term used for the accounting records on which trading companies jotted down the essential elements of insurance contracts.[1] Quaderni di sicurtà is also the title of the bibliographical catalog held in the Foundation library. Appeared in its first edition in 1996, it has been updated with a new edition in 2012, which describes 470 ancient works as printed volumes and over 3000 modern works (printed from 1831) in a cd-rom attached.

L'affascinante storia dell'assicurazione recounts seven centuries of insurance history, the early policies of the Florentines and Genoese merchants to disputes among canonists and moralists on the lawfulness of the insurance policy, until the next development of the probability theory and the birth of the first insurance companies. The iconography includes a selection of posters kept at the foundation.

La biblioteca digitale

File:Incipiunt statuta albingane, 1519 - 003.tif
Incipiunt statuta albingane, 1519 (Milan, Mansutti Foundation)

The foundation started the digitization of its most important ancient texts from a thematic point of view. The first digitized works are: De contractibus et usuris of San Bernardino of Siena (13th century), the Tractatus de assecurationibus & sponsionibus mercatorum of Pedro Santerna (1552), the Tractatus de assecurationibus of Welcome Stracca (1569), the An Essay on Insurances of Nicolas Magens (1755), the Traité des assurances et des contrats à la grosse of Marie Balthazard Émerigon (1783), and the Treaty of marine insurance of Ascanio Baldasseroni (1801).


In 2016, the Library Sormani in Milan hosted the exhibition Scacco al rischio! Luck, misfortune, insurance calculation from the Middle Ages to today, organized by the Foundation and curated by Marina Bonomelli and Claudia Di Battista, with the help of Fondazione Cariplo. The exhibition presented rare documents such as books, binders, plaques, posters, from the assets of the foundation.


  1. M. Bonomelli, Quaderni di sicurtà', Antea editions 1996, p. 7.

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