Franco Azzinari was born at San Demetrio Corone, Cosenza, on March 3, 1949. After the death of his parents when he was still a child, he left Calabria and began to wander throughout Europe, on what might be called his cultural travels.
He spent several years in Paris where he became greatly influenced by the Impressionist school and, in particular, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Monet. These three artists were to play an important role in making Azzinari's paintings so personal. In France he discovered his skill as a portrait-artist, which is how he made a living.
In 1973 he established himself in Lerici and in the new studio painted ten paintings of Liguria. In 197 4 Azzinari had his first personal show at the gallery called "La Cattedrale" in Lerici. This was the official beginning of what was to be an intense artistic activity.
As the result of his growing commitments, in that same year, he opened a studio-gallery in Milan. Then, in 1977, he decided to travel extensively in the Far East in the footsteps of the ancient civilizations.
During the years that followed, Azzinari travelled to the United States, the Seychelles and Brazil. He won considerable recognition as an artist and his works are now part of important Italian and foreign collections.
On a trip to Cuba in 1992, he found the colours of his homeland in the people and the countryside of that nation and he fell in love with it. He painted Gregorio Fuentes, Hemingway's sailor, President Fidel Castro, who posed for him, vaqueros on horseback, still lifes and the sunny countryside.
In 2001, the Milanese publishing house Electa published a book on Azzinari and his paintings, many of which were exhibited at the National Museum in Havana and then in several Italian and European cities, in their most prestigious castles and museums. During that same year, fascinated by mythology and the places mentioned in the stories of gods, heroes and warriors, he went to Greece where he painted several different works, among which:
"The Cradle of Apollo" (the island of Delos)
"The Corinth Isthmus" (the Peloponnesos)
"The Bay of Poseidon" (Cape Sounion).
In 2002, the municipality of Altomonte (CS), presided over by Mr. Costantino Belluscio, donated space to the artist in the Torre Pallotta, built by the Normans in 1052. Here, on June 2, 2002, the Franco Azzinari Museum was officially inaugurated. The Museum's collection consists of 40 important works by the artist. The collection is titled "Twenty years with Nature".
The paintings done in Greece will be on show in various public exhibition halls and museums during 2003, in an itinerant exhibition called "Where Myths Occurred".
Currently Franco Azzinari spends his time between Italy and Greece. These lands are his poetic inspiration.