Italy, the land of luxury, famous for its high-end fashion, traditional food, and unique wine, also has some of the world’s wealthiest people. The renowned billionaires and business tycoons come from all types of backgrounds, ranging from confectionery to eyewear and designer goods.
Here is the list of the richest Italians’ that are known worldwide for their outstanding business, according to Forbes rich list:
10. Miuccia Prada
Net Worth: $3.2 billion (£2.4 million)
As arguably the most influential fashion designer in the world idolised for her powerful intellect, Mrs Prada is the co-CEO and lead designer of the fashion empire Prada - renowned for their lavish, leather handbags. Prada was originally created in 1913 by her grandfather and was inherited by Miuccia and her siblings Albert and Marina in 1977. With her creative vision, Miuccia took the business to new heights by opening the first Prada store in New York in 1986, hosting high-end suitcases, handbags and steamer trunks. A few years later, the company took the world by storm by showcasing a ready-to-wear women's collection, becoming a true success story.
9. Giuseppe De'Longhi
Net Worth: $3.8 billion (£2.9 million)
If you are a coffee-lover you would have heard of the highly rated, De’Longhi coffee makers before. Giuseppe is the chairman of the parent company De’Longhi SpA which was founded in Treviso in 1902 which provided spare heating parts, and later expanded into manufacturing heaters, air conditioners and home appliances. In 1990, they found their niche in producing quality coffee makers and have successfully catered to all price-ranges ever since.
8. Paolo & Gianfelice Mario Rocca
Net Worth: $4.4 billion (£3.4 million)
These two Italian’s are the grandsons of Agostino Rocca, who founded his industrial empire, Techint Group, in 1945. Their companies operate in steel, engineering services, major construction projects, oil, and gas and also focus in the healthcare sector. Although they run their thriving business that turns over $25 billion a year, Paolo, who is CEO lives in Argentina and Gianfelice lives in Italy.
7. Augusto & Giorgio Perfetti
Net Worth: $5.8 billion (£4.4 million)
Brothers Augusto and Giorgio Perfetti, creators of the world’s third largest confectionery manufacturer Perfetti Van Melle, sold over $2.8 billion worth of sweets in 2015. The privately owned company sell the renowned brands like; Mentos, Airheads, and Chupa-Chups. Their father Ambrogio and uncle Egidio started the company making chewing gum in 1946 in a small town near Milan; they had been inspired by American soldiers who had brought gum overseas during World War II and began selling in the mid-1950s. The media-shy brothers now live in Switzerland and no longer run the business.
6. Giorgio Armani
Net Worth: $6.6 billion (£5.1 million)
The fashion mogul, Giorgio Armani was born into a working-class family in Piacenza. He attended medical school but soon dropped out to fulfill his military service and then got a job as a buyer and window dresser for a department store called La Rinascente in Milan. The visionary, Armani left to design clothes for Nino Cerruti and eventually launched his own line in the 1970s. After making his big-break in the 80s for a Hollywood blockbuster, Armani flourished to the richest fashion icon in the world expanding into every corner of fashion, including haute couture, interior design, real estate, restaurants, and hotels.
5. Silvio Berlusconi
Net Worth: $7 billion (£5.3 million)
The Italian media industry billionaire turned businessman and politician served as the prime minister of Italy in four governments and stood as the longest serving PM of Italy until he stepped down in 2011. He made his fortune through his primary business; Finivest, which is a media group and also owns the football club of AC Milan.
4. Massimiliana Landini Aleotti
Net Worth: $9.5 billion (£7.3 million)
The widowed Massimiliana inherited the pharmaceutical giant Menarini from her late husband, Alberto Aleotti. The company turns over $3.4 billion per annum. The smart businessman started working at Menarini in 1964 and bought the business from its owners in the early 1990s. Since then the family has been accused of money laundering and tax evasion, concluding to their children Lucia and Alberto, being sentenced to 10 and 7 years.
3. Stefano Pessina
Net Worth: $13.9 billion (£10.6 million)
Stefano Pessina is the current CEO of Alliance Boots. Before he successfully gained this position in 2007, he ran a family wholesale pharmaceutical business. He got there by striking a flurry of deals, buying more than 150 rival pharmacies across Europe, then merging his UniChem Group with U. K. pharmacy Alliance Boots and taking the company private in a $22 billion deal, Europe's largest leveraged buyout ever. Between 2012 and 2014, Walgreens bought 100% of his pharmacy chain, creating Walgreens Boots Alliance and making Pessina the largest shareholder in the Chicago-based company.
2. Leonardo Del Vecchio
Net Worth: $17.9 billion (£13.7 million)
The second richest Italian is the owner and founder of Lucottica, the parent company of Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. With worldwide success, Del Vecchio is also the 38th richest man globally. Leonardo was an orphan who began his career as a tool and dye apprentice. With his new found passion, he began to use his metalworking skills with lenses and spectacles and began selling frames to eyeglass companies.
1. Maria Franca Fissolo
Net Worth: $25.2 billion (£19.3 million)
Maria Franca is the widower of chocolate legacy Michele Ferrero, who created the Ferrero group, best known for its iconic Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread, Kinder chocolates and Tic-Tac mints. It was Michele’s dad, Pietro, who started the business during World War II in northern Italy, where he set up a lab to supply his wife’s pastry shop. Faced with rationed cocoa, he used hazelnuts to create the spread that is now known as Nutella.
Italy, being a wealthy country has played a huge part in producing world-wide brands. Many of these Italian billionaires have ranked highly in the world’s billionaires list thanks to their wisdom, deep intuition, entrepreneurial passion or successful forebears.
Drop us a comment in the box below to tell us who your favourite Italian billionaire is…
This article was originally published in January 2015.