BARON MICHAEL TOSSIZZA FOUNDATION

The establishment of the Baron Michael Tossizza Foundation in 1948 was the decisive event for the economic and cultural development of today's Metsovo.


Athens offices:
29, Kolokotroni str., Athens 105 62, Greece
Tel:(+30) 210 3231569, Fax: (+30) 210 3231533
Metsovo:
Tel:(+30) 26560 41205, Fax: (+30) 26560 41876

Background History

Baron Michael Tossizza, a descendant of a well-known Greek benefactor from Metsovo, lived rich and alone in Switzerland. He had never been to Greece and could not even speak the Greek language. Evangelos Averoff, grandnephew of another Greek benefactor, George Averoff, who also had his origins from Metsovo, found Tossizza, in Vevey shortly before World War II. He wrote and spoke to him repeatedly about Metsovo and the problems it faced, being an isolated village up on the rough mountains of Pindos.

The Baron was already an old man. Shortly after the War he announced to his new friend that he was willing to adopt him in order to enable him, as heir of his fortune, to proceed with his plans for the development of Metsovo and its surrounding area. E. Averoff, being very active in Greek politics, refused for reasons of principle this honouring offer. Instead he proposed the alternative of a Foundation bearing Tossizza’s name which would proceed, under the guidance of both, with the plans.

This is how the TOSSIZZA FOUNDATION was created in the late 40’s .The Baron died in 1950, before having seen any of the foundation’s achievements. Tossizza’s fortune, invested in real-estate and bank accounts in Switzerland, still exists. The yield of these investments continues to support the Foundation’s activities.

First accomplishments

During the years of the early 50’s the following were accomplished in Metsovo:

The rebuilding of the Tossizza’s old home, now a unique Museum of traditional Epirot Art, which provides interesting knowledge on life at home of noted wealthy families.

The reforestation of the surrounding areas of the village, as well as important land reclamation works.

The Primary School, just below the church of Aghia Paraskevi, which is still functioning today.

The Cheese Factory, which has taught people in Metsovo how to make good cheese.

The Wood Factory which has significantly contributed to the development of many family owned enterprises that work successfully with wood.

The Cow Farm which, through the introduction of better breeds, has helped improve the quality of herds in the area. The Foundation is today, in close collaboration with the American Farm School of Thessaloniki.

A Crafts Centre that assisted the continuity and the sale of traditional handicrafts.

A Chair-Lift installation, one of the first in Greece and the only one in the area, that takes visitors up the Karakoli summit, from where, at an altitude of 1500 meters, one can admire the panoramic view of Pindos mountain-range. Skiers can descend a beautiful slope at winter.

Other beneficiary activities

106 single-class schools that were built in very poor and isolated mountain villages in the area of Epirus.

Health Assistance Centres for medical care, before the construction of the State hospital.

A Student Hall in Kifissia, a northern suburb of Athens, for 75 young men who attend University and higher studies. The students, who are selected every year depending on the financial status of their family as well as their performance at school, are accommodated and nourished free of charge.

The restoration and maintenance of the old Monastery of Aghios Nikolaos, situated in the gorge below the village of Metsovo, which is famous for its icons and frescoes.

The playground for children at the Aghios Georgios Park and the Athletic-Club close to the football field.

The Children’s Library operating since December 1992, and was created in collaboration with the Book Centre for Children and Adolescents.

The restoration of many traditional buildings as well as the reconstruction of cobbled stone paths and old fountains. The construction of the new shopping centre in the main square.