On a Sunday late in Autumn I was walking around the Mirafiori construction site to get a better idea of the situation. In the distance at the end of an unfinished shed I saw the Senator with a lady in a black dress. I approached them respectfully: “I just wanted my spouse to have an idea of this initiative. We have no children to manage it anymore, but there are high hopes for some of the grandchildren.”

Vittorio Bonadé Bottino, Memorie di un borghese del Novecento

Giovanni Agnelli, accompanied by Vittorio Bonadé Bottino and others, visits the construction site of the future Mirafiori plant, 1938.
Longitudinal section and cross section of the foundries of Mirafiori plant.
Giovanni Agnelli with Princess Maria José of Piedmont during her visit to the Mirafiori plant, 1941.

The President reports that in the European and global context of this catastrophe of human civilization, the situation of our country is extremely unfortunate and demeaning. It’s pointless to talk about it; it is clear to all in its military, political, moral and social aspects. It is obvious that in the current conditions in which we live, even industry is subjected to severe and dangerous hardships. The chaos is general, but the difficulties that Fiat has to deal with every day are particularly serious and have a more severe impact than elsewhere because of the importance and complexity of our company.

Verbale del Consiglio di Amministrazione del 10 novembre 1944

Complete demolition. Fiat Total destruction. Senator Agnelli summoned us to his death bed. His last words were orders: “Rebuild Fiat. Production must go on so that you can hire more workers and give them a better standard of living.”

Vittorio Valletta

The workers’ dining hall, the Mirafiori plant, 1940-1944.
The damage caused at the Mirafiori plant by an air raid in November 1942;
Descending into the anti-aircraft bunkers at Fiat Mirafiori, 1943;
The anti-aircraft bunkers at Fiat Mirafiori, 1943.