For many in Italy it was also the vindication of Milan, the center of big money, over the provincial upstarts. Few could forget the peasant origins of Serafino Ferruzzi, the patriarch, and of his ill-fated son-in-law, Raul Gardini, who married Serafino's daughter Idina and, after the old man's death inpicked up the reins of the empire. The trial brought to light much of the clandestine dealing that provoked Italy's continuing corruption investigations and made Ferruzzi a metaphor for the corrupt alliance between business and politics. It was a story that excited the imaginations of Italians, rivaling the soap operas, and its latest act was the desperate attempt of the family to challenge the banks' takeover of the family assets. The paintings, Mr. A company executive, wishing anonymity, said it was "a small drop" but had symbolic value to underscore the company's rediscovered frugality.
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Now the Ferruzzi dynasty has suffered another, most humiliating blow. Then there is Alessandra, the youngest, most beautiful and most. The paintings, Mr. Bellavia said, were by minor artists, not terribly good.
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brother of the youngest Ferruzzi daughter, Alessandra, began telling.
But this week they were up for sale, on auction at Sotheby's here, the walnut 17th-century armoires, the paintings in the French and Flemish style, the Oriental carpets.
The family protested the auction, unsuccessfully. The moves by the Ferruzzi son-in-law, Carlo Sama, and by Arturo Ferruzzi were a desperate effort to salvage the honor of the family, and its finances, but it also reflected a reading of the changed political situation since the election in March of the new Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, another rags-to-riches man who like the Ferruzzis came to power and influence outside the range of the big Milanese financial circles.
The Fall of the House of Ferruzzi. Franco Gallina, a businessman who bid on a pair of wrought-iron lamps, said, "It's not exceptional stuff, but they're beautiful things, very rich, and decadent.
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Massimiliano Ferruzzi, Arturo's son and a money manager who lives in Paris, said by phone that none of the Ferruzzis would be in Milan, but in Bologna preparing their next legal steps with lawyers.
To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Gardini shot himself to death.
They once graced the rooms of the powerful Ferruzzi family, the founders of a business empire built on farming and the foodstuffs trade, chemicals, insurance and a hundred other things. For many in Italy it was also the vindication of Milan, the center of big money, over the provincial upstarts.
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But this week they were up for sale, on auction at Sotheby's here, the walnut 17th-century armoires, the paintings in the French and Flemish style, the Oriental carpets. World Milan Journal; Going, Going.