“I’m a boy with 60,000 lire in my pocket. Here is my century lived madly “

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“What does it mean to be crazy?” Having a visionary goal, looking to the future, thinking about the new generations and the world they will have. I’ve always had stars in my eyes: that’s where we come and we’ll return. We admire them, from the Earth, also thanks to our scientific knowledge… The real problem is what we do, how we behave in the duration of this algorithm which is our life. The madman pursues a final idea linked to understanding what our life is… ». Marino Golinelli, entrepreneur and philanthropist, has just turned 100 effervescent, lucid and very lively years. Its Alfasigma, a world leader in pharmaceuticals, now has 2,800 employees in 18 countries, plus it has given to Bologna and Italy, with the Golinelli Foundation, the Opificio Golinelli (“city of knowledge, innovation, culture »): 9,000 square meters to provide young people with study and research tools. In 2017 it invested another three million euros for a dreamlike structure, the Arts and Sciences center, a 700 square meter luminous parallelepiped designed by Marino Cucinella.

During the celebration ceremony for her 100th anniversary in Bologna, Toni Servillo gave her a gift: she read some pages of Erasmus of Rotterdam’s “The eulogy of madness”. And she said: “I’m happy to be a fool because it gives me the opportunity to understand something about myself.” What do you mean? «In Erasmus, as I said in Bologna, I have always been struck by the exceptional nonconformity. And in every visionary entrepreneur there is insanity. Madness helps to overcome borders ”

Have you always had this drive from a young age? “Right away, I’d say. Ever since I realized that pharmaceuticals, then treating others, would be my life. I am the son of peasants, I graduated in Pharmacy in Bologna at the age of 23 and I was holding the 60,000 lire my father gave me ”

The biography that appears on the Golinelli Foundation website reads: «He is a man who has an optimistic vision of the future and believes that knowledge is the foundation of all human progress. He is convinced that the entrepreneur has a moral duty to return part of his fortunes to society ». Has it always been like this? “Always. It is an essential part of that madness, of that visionary nature, of that gazing at the stars. My dream after graduation was to help heal. And all this would have been impossible without thinking of others: if I plan to heal, I take care of those close to me, right? I have taken on commitments that involve civil society and reach ethics, asking myself moral questions. For example, we should ask ourselves the question of what men will need in 2088. For this we must invest in school, university, research, helping young people to find work and build a future. But … Can I tell? ”

Sure, everything. “I don’t see a political class up to the task and committed to this point. Enough with the words: many, for too long ”

His ethical method? «Doing business, obviously making profits but never investing in speculation. Never. Only in search to create more work ”

The key to this awareness? “Do not live behind others but for ourselves and for others. We can be intelligent but not necessarily wise: wisdom provides an inner identity linked to the responsibilities we have. I have chosen to donate a quarter of my assets to the Foundation: and I know that it will continue after me, as it will be with the company ”

What would you like to ask of the many other entrepreneurs who choose to accumulate? «One, very simple. But what do you live for? What is life for you? What does it mean? ”

Is there a Creator? «It is we humans who create, over the course of our individual lives. We are called to do it ”

She is also one of the «200 of the FAI», she is on the Arpai Council, the Association for the restoration of artistic heritage, and collects art. What is the connection with his world? “At university I studied colors from the point of view of physics. Then I realized that, with art, they express the values ​​of the mind and the needs of man. My houses are full of paintings … Art and science are the pillars of creativity ”

As for the family? «I am lucky, I have two very well prepared and talented children, I have grandchildren, I have my wife … As for the company, I said it: I know it will continue in the future. Maybe one day it will even change its name, who knows ”

Do you still have plans? “Many. The main thing is that the brain fires well and that the arteries work. And I keep an eye on them … ”


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