• 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
Generations of glamour unite to toast Bottega Veneta
US star Lauren Hutton takes to the runway with the Bottega bag from American Gigolo. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Hollywood icon Lauren Hutton joined Gigi Hadid on the catwalk as the world of glamour united across the generations to celebrate 50 years of venerated Italian fashion house Bottega Veneta.

Interview
'My problem is too many ideas': Italy's couture king
Francois Guillot / AFP

Giambattista Valli says his fledgling ready-to-wear line is thriving -- thanks to spillover synergy from a haute couture operation that has made him a darling of the celebrity A-list set.

Italy orders man to buy feminist books for prostitute
An image of a customer meeting a prostitute. Photo: Italian investigators

A court in Rome has handed down an unusual penalty to the client of an underage prostitute, ordering him to buy her 30 books on the theme of women's dignity, Italian media reported Friday.

Pope holds multi-faith meeting with Nice victims
Pope Francis kisses a baby on arrival at his weekly audience in St Peter's Square. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/ AFP

Pope Francis will on Saturday hold a multi-faith meeting of grieving relatives and survivors of an attack in France in July when a jihadist ploughed his truck into a crowd in Nice.

For one day only: €1 nighttime entry to Italy's cultural sites
Fancy getting up close and personal with David after dark? Photo

Saturday is European Heritage Day, and Italy is celebrating with €1 entry to many of its most famous sites.

The real reasons young Italians aren't having kids
Why have Italians seemingly stopped making babies? File photo: Pexels

Italy's government is campaigning to get Italians to have babies - but what are the reasons behind the slowing birthrate?

Renzi vows to restore quake towns to former glory
Amatrice, the town worst hit by the August 24th quake. Photo: AFP

"The areas will be more beautiful than before," Italy's Prime Minister promised, one month on from the earthquake.

Italy spearheads citizen drive for EU soil policy
Italian farmland. Photo: michael kooiman/Flickr

An area of fertile soil the size of Berlin is lost across the EU each year.

Italian PM dismisses idea of Rome 2024 Olympics
Happier times: Renzi announcing Rome's candidacy for the 2024 Games. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

It looks like it's all over.

Yet another earthquake strikes in central Italy
Damaged houses in Accumoli, where another earthquake has struck. Photo: AFP

Repeated aftershocks since the initial quake have made recovery difficult in the disaster-hit region.

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
Culture
Eight things you should know about Rome's Spanish Steps
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The incredible hero dogs of Italy’s earthquake
National
Why quake-hit Amatrice will never be the same again
National
Why discontented Italians could derail their economy
Society
Keep passports safe: Typical pickpocket scams revealed
Culture
Why coffee in Italy is a culture you must taste to understand
Society
The richest families in Florence in 1427 are still rich today
Culture
So why do pasta-loving Italians live such long lives?
National
Italy's Renzi prepares for stormy autumn
Society
This 104-year-old just saw the sea for the first time
National
Should Rome give up on its 2024 Olympic dream?
Society
The Italian doctor giving hope to thousands of migrants
Culture
Ten 'Italian' dishes that don't actually exist in Italy
Sport
Five Italian athletes going for gold at the Rio Olympics
Travel
Trastevere: From a fiery past to Rome’s souvenir stand
Politics
Think Trump would be a disaster? Just ask the Italians
National
How Brexit has helped to expose Italy’s banking malaise
Politics
After Brexit, keep a close eye on Italy's Five Star Movement
Lifestyle
12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Italy
National
Why Milan could be Europe's post-Brexit financial hub
Travel
Five crowd-free alternatives to Italy's tourist hotspots
2,529
jobs available