• Italy's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Nutella maker's widow is now the world's richest Italian
Maria Franca Fissola has been named Italy's richest woman. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Nutella maker's widow is now the world's richest Italian

The Local · 2 Mar 2016, 10:06

Published: 02 Mar 2016 10:06 GMT+01:00

In its annual billionaires list, Forbes estimated her wealth at some €20 billion, making the 98-year-old, from Cuneo in Piedmont, not just Italy's richest person but the 30th richest person in the world.

Fissola is also the world's fourth richest woman and takes her place in the list after inheriting the wealth of her husband Michele, who died on Valentine's Day last year.

In spite of her extraordinary wealth, little is known about Fissola's private life.

A polyglot who speaks three languages, she met her husband while working as a secretary and translator at his chocolate empire Ferrero, which is today world famous for its Nutella spread and Kinder eggs.

The pair married in 1963.

Her late husband, the son of a small-time pastry maker, started from humble beginnings and made his fortune using ground hazelnut to make Nutella in a bid to save money on chocolate amid rationing during the Second World War.

Story continues below…

Today, Ferrero is the world’s fourth-largest chocolate maker.

The company is based in Alba and operates 18 production plants globally, selling its chocolate products in over 100 countries.  The current CEO is Giuseppe Ferrero, the couple's son.

But Fissola was by no means the only Italian on the rich list.

Hot on her heels in 37th place came the 80-year-old-founder of the eyewear company Luxottica, which makes Ray Ban and Persol sunglasses.

Forbes estimated his net worth at a cool €17.7 billion.  

For more news from Italy, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.it)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Gay civil unions finally become a reality in Italy
Italy became the last major country in Europe to recognize same-sex civil unions in May. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Italy's first civil union has been performed and will be registered in 10 days' time.

Mussolini's region votes to criminalize fascist souvenirs
Souvenirs plastered with the face of fascist dicator Benito Mussolini. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The sale of trinkets and souvenirs bearing the image of Benito Mussolini has been outlawed in the region of Italy where the fascist dictator was born and raised.

New rescue plan sends shares Italy's oldest bank soaring
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo:Carlo Hermann/AFP

Shares in Monte Paschi di Siena (BMPS) soared on the Milan stock exchange on Friday, boosted by a possible new lifeline tabled by a veteran Italian banker and Swiss giant UBS.

Italy has expelled 35 Islamist terrorists in 2016: Alfano
Italy's Interiror Minister, Angelino Alfano. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Italy's Interior Minister Angelino Alfano on Thursday told Parliament that 35 Islamists had been expelled from the country so far in 2016.

Venice Film Festival
Hollywood dominates Venice film fest line-up
The Golden Lion is the top price at Venice's annual film festival. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Just three Italian films are in the running for the Golden Lion.

Italy energy giant boosts 2016 profit forecast
Energy giant Enel revised its 2016 profit estimates upwards on Thursday. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italian energy giant Enel on Thursday revised upwards its profit forecast for 2016 after first-half net profit remained stable despite a sharp fall in revenue.

Stress tests to show extent of problems at Italy's oldest bank
The ancient headquarters of Monte dei Paschi di Siena. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace

Stress test results for Europe's top banks come out Friday and all eyes will be on Italy's embattled Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS) - the world's oldest bank.

Video
Tourists blame Google for drive in car-free Venice
Cars are not allowed to enter Venice. Photo: Screengrab/La Nuova Venezia

“Google Maps sent us this way.”

Italy launches hard-hitting campaign to put off migrants
Migrants arriving in Reggio Calabria, in southern Italy. Photo: Giovanni Isolino/AFP

People thinking about making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean are being encouraged to "make an informed decision" by a shocking Italian campaign.

Filthy Rome's rubbish problem 'fixed within a month'
Rome's new council say the city will be clean 'by August 20th'. Photo:Andreas Solaro/AFP

The heaps of rubbish on Rome's streets will be consigned to the dustbin of history next month. That's the plan, at least.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Italian hotspots struggling with 'too many tourists'
Culture
Meet the Italian chef behind the world's best restaurant
Travel
Escape the heat at one of these beautiful Italian lakes
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Why the UK is now officially crazier than Italy
Culture
How you can stay cool like an ancient Roman
Lifestyle
Food for thought: fight on to save Med diet from extinction
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
National
From asylum seeker in Italy to organic yoghurt entrepreneur
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Fifteen maps that tell the story of Italy
National
Why Italy might be the next big threat to the EU's future
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Politics
Post Brexit, less than a third of Italians want to leave EU
Politics
The bright side of Brexit: the 'good news' for Brits in Italy
Culture
Eight wonderful things to do in Italy in July
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Travel
Six of the best places to visit within easy reach of Rome
British business owners in Italy feel Brexit jitters
National
How to get Italian citizenship (or at least stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Politics
Where does Britain's exit from the EU leave Italy?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Politics
Has the time come for Italy’s Five Star Movement to shine?
Society
Why Italy must change after young woman’s brutal murder
Politics
Is Italy's Five Star up to the challenge of running Rome?
Culture
Six of the most bizarre Italian foods everyone should try
2,576
jobs available