How to Start an Art Collection: Collezione Scarzella 

How to Start an Art Collection: Collezione Scarzella 

Love, passion, and interest. These elements contribute to creating an art collection such as that of Giovanni Scarzella and Camilla Previ, the Milan-based couple who investigated and found their artistic language in a journey celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Arts Management students at Istituto Marangoni Firenze had the opportunity to engage in a virtual conversation with the collectors, getting to know the details behind the creation of the Scarzella Collection.

By Jonathan Paonetti & Massimo Romanelli. Cover image: Pamela Diamante. Courtesy of Collezione Scarzella.

One among various Italian collections stands out in the Milanese panorama. Extensive research and passion led a couple – united not only romantically but also for the love of art – to create the Scarzella collection. The latter was created in 2013 by Giovanni Scarzella (1979), a  technological entrepreneur, and Camilla Previ (1989), an art historian.
They have merged their knowledge and vision to shape a work of art that is the collection itself, mainly (but not only) consisting of contemporary artworks by young artists. We had the opportunity to meet Giovanni Scarzella during an Art Market lesson held by tutor Cristina Masturzo, where he extensively explained their approach to collecting art.
Although the collection was initially created just for the pleasure and joy that come from artworks, the pandemic of the last few years allowed the couple to reconsider the importance of their work, directing their vision towards a business plan. This led to an annual research project to purchase artworks following the Scarzella-Previ idea, increasing the entire collection’s value.


Their journey began in Bologna Arte Fiera in 2013 while the couple visited the fair. After purchasing their first artwork – L’abito dell’Infanta (2011), a beautiful mixed media on paper by Fabrizio Cotognini – they started to fall in love with the exercise of collecting. They both share a passion for the market, which led them to establish strong relationships with artists, galleries, and other collectors. The collection includes pieces by artists such as Eugenio Tibaldi, Francesco Arena, Serena Vestrucci, Marinella Senatore, Giovanni Ozzola, and Petrit Halilaj, to whom they also felt close on a personal level. Although their first approach was far from business-oriented, the lockdown in Italy between 2020 and 2021 marked a pivotal turn. During this isolation time, Scarzella studied the behaviours and the nature of the art industry, completely changing the focus he wanted for the collection in the future. This translated into a strategy and planning based on an annual purchase budget, aiming to study and predict changes in the market’s interest in different artistic trends.

Top: works of Zandile Tschabalala, Sophie Ulrich and Chris Soal. Above: Audy Doorsey. Courtesy of Collezione Scarzella.


The year 2023 defines a 10-year journey to observe the evolution, taste and imprint given by the couple to a collection of (about) 120 works. The couple constantly shares data on the collection’s Instagram profile about acquisition channels, such as the fact that 71% of the pieces were bought at gallery exhibitions, 25% at art fairs and 4% at auctions. Or that 49% of the artworks were made by young Italian artists, highlighting the importance of Italian contemporary art.
The two collectors’ sharp eyes allowed them to purchase works that were highly appreciated by the art market and critics. “We enjoy doing research by naturally searching for what we like and what can have a positive impact on the collection’s growth”, said Scarzella during an intervention at School, adding that he aims to “discover artists before they make their first huge impact on the market”.


The Scarzella-Previ duo is the expression of today’s art world composed of a double matrix: a passionate one, represented by Giovanni, and a purely historical-artistic one, represented by Camilla. Their aesthetic taste unites their visions, and the resulting balance allows us to understand the results obtained and the couple’s goals.
On the one hand, they are willing to increase the collection more and more, and on the other, they would like to support the system with similar projects in the future, like residences or awards. Giovanni and Camilla are clear examples of how the fulfillment of an artistic passion can create the opportunity for emerging artists to thrive and gain recognition.

Giovanni Scarzella and Camilla Previ are two Italian collectors based in Milan.
Jonathan Paonetti and Massimo Romanelli are Arts Management Master’s students at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.