The request was granted; the rooms were walled up only to be opened later at the end of the World War. With the help of his wife Maria, seven children and in particular his eldest daughter Maria Luigia Piccinni, Vittorio devoted himself to archiving all the surviving material in the hope that the historical legacy would not be dismembered, absorbed or sold.
For the same reason, in 1961, the Niccolò Piccinni Fund was established, a private fund with the task of safeguarding and handing down the memory of Niccolò Piccinni, his works and those of his descendants, and in 1967 the Piccinni Prize was created.
Visiting Lake Garda to deliver a miner’s lamp during a celebration in remembrance of the Marcinelle disaster of 56, Vittorio fell in love with the lakeside village of Lazise, habitually staying there for long periods each year during the summer season.
For his services in Italy, he receives the 1943-45 war memorial medal from the Italian Republic, and in Belgium, he is named an honorary member in the Circle of Ex-Combatants and War Veterans.
In 1993, Emperor Akihito of Japan and Empress Michiko included, among the stops on their trip to Mons, a visit to the Niccolò Piccinni Fund accompanied by Queen Paola of Belgium.
After contributing to opera patronage in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain; he devoted the last years of his life to cultivating his rose garden. Vittorio passed away in Belgium in 1996.
MARIA LUIGIA PICCINNI
Maria Luigia Piccinni, honorary president of the Fund, was born in Bari and, like her father Vittorio, grew up between the family’s Italian villa in the province of Lecce and the family home in Mons, Belgium.
She developed a passion for singing as a child thanks to her father, who frequently accompanied her to the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels.
In 1974, with her husband, a naval captain, she began her exploration of the world by plying all the seas, oceans and the remotest corners of geographic cartography. On her long voyages by ship she transcribes a logbook in which she notes not only the places, but also the cultures and customs of the tribes with which she comes into close contact.
He collects all these memories and collected objects in his villa of organic architecture designed within a Belgian forest that becomes an important meeting place for personalities from the European cultural, artistic and political scene of the 1980s; at the same time he builds another villa in Gallipoli overlooking the gulf and overlooking the coast of Calabria.
In 1993, after the funeral of King Baudouin, she was introduced to the Royal Palace in Brussels by Queen Mother Fabiola, who introduced her to Prince Philip of Belgium, after repeated requests for admiration from the future king himself.
After always taking a committed part in archiving, musical donations and the awarding of the Piccinni Prize, she took over as president of the Fund in 1996, the year of her father’s death, contributing in the search for unknown works by the maestro with the help of renowned musicologists.
In 2000 she was invited to Bari to visit, after conservation restoration, the birthplace of her ancestor Niccolò Piccinni in the heart of the old city.
To perpetuate a historic tradition and bring it up to date, Maria designated, in 2018, her grandson Maximilien Seren-Piccinni to succeed him in the Fund as president, while remaining its honorary president.