When we think of wealthy people our minds drift towards American, Japanese and Chinese technology magnets and businessmen. We generally don’t give much consideration to most of our European counterparts. Even so, there are a lot of extremely wealthy people to be found in the old countries. Countries like Germany, Spain, and Italy feature more billionaires than we could have ever imagined. Maybe it’s our lack of awareness of what’s happening in the world, or maybe our American billionaires spend more time in the public eye. Whatever the reason, there’s plenty of really rich people to be found everywhere in the world. Here are the ten wealthiest Italians.
10 Paolo & Gianfelice Mario Rocca -- Net Worth: $6.1 Billion
These two Italians are grandsons of Agostino Rocca, an Italian businessman who constructed his industrial empire in Argentina during the 1950s during a time of immense expansion in South America. Agostino’s company, Techint Group, became a world leader in oil production – particularly the construction of seamless steel oil and gas pipelines. Today the company is run by his grandsons. Paolo lives in Argentina as the face of the company and represents the business affairs in South America. Gianfelice lives in Italy and heads up the healthcare portion of the company called Humantis.
9 Silvio Berlusconi -- Net Worth: $6.2 Billion
Silvio Berlusconi has been a media sensation, both as a businessman and politician, and because of poor decisions he’s made. Silvio constructed his fortune through various businesses, but primarily through a media group called Fininvest. He became embroiled in Italian politics and served as prime minister. Unfortunately his career has been laced with controversy. He’s been accused of political manipulation, tax evasion, extortion, child abuse, perjury, colluding with mafia members, embezzlement, money laundering, and so much more. He’s been acquitted for some, convicted of others, and some are still ongoing. Despite all of this Berlusconi is still worth a reputed $6.2 Billion.
8 Gianluigi Aponte -- Net Worth: $6.3 Billion
The 74-year-0ld Aponte started and owns the Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A., which just happens to be the second largest shipping container company in the world. In addition to shipping, Aponte became involved in the cruise industry and purchased several cruise ships. He was awarded the “Neapolitan Excellence in the World” award by then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Aponte makes his home in Switzerland, but he still serves as the CEO for his company.
7 Patrizio Bertelli -- Net Worth: $6.7 Billion
Bertelli has been involved in the leather goods business since the 1970s when he ran a leather accessory company before he met and married Miuccia Prada in 1978. Bertelli was instrumental in making Prada a household name and helped his wife open her first store in New York. He’s been selling and shipping leather goods and making millions ever since. In 2014 his wife took over as CEO of Prada, stepping down from her position of chairwoman of the board to do so. Bertelli and Prada have two children and his net worth is estimated at $6.7 Billion – impressive, but still less than his wife’s.
6 Giorgio Armani -- Net Worth: $8.5 Billion
Now 80, Armani began his career as a fashion designer after abandoning medical school and then serving in the army. He began by working as a window dresser in a department store. He later designed menswear then worked later as a freelance fashion designer before founding his own label. Since then his list of achievements and design innovations have been nothing short of impressive. In addition to fashion, Armani serves as president of an Italian basketball team, and is a noted soccer fan of Inter Milan. He’s won numerous awards for his deigns and built his brand bit by bit. Today he’s worth an estimated $8.5 billion, not bad for a former window dresser.
5 Stefano Pessina -- Net Worth: $10.4 Billion
Stefano Pessina is the current Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots, a position he’s been in since 2007. Before that he ran a family pharmaceutical wholesaler business. He merged this business with another wholesaler called Alliance UniChem – where he served on the board of directors and later became the chief executive. Pessina also sat on the board of directors for Walgreens until 2012 and he still owns roughly 8% of that company and 18% of Alliance Boots. His net worth has increased significantly in the last couple years. He currently resides in Monaco.
4 Miuccia Prada -- Net Worth: $12.4 Billion
Miuccia Prada inherited the Prada brand and luxury goods company from her grandfather, Mario Prada in 1978. Her background was in political science, but she took over the company and with the help of her husband built Prada into a worldwide brand. Her first designs became popular in the mid to late-1980s and since then Prada has taken off with the company purchasing several other brands since then. Miuccia has been called the 75th most powerful woman in the world. She’s won several awards for her fashion sense, and she was the 2010 winner of the Turner Prize. She’s had some legal difficulties and has been accused of tax evasion. In 2014 she stepped down as chairwoman of the board at Prada to become CEO.
3 Agnelli Family -- Net Worth: $13.5 Billion
Maybe it’s unfair to list an entire family on this list – but the truth is they are worth a ton and no one is quite sure where it’s all located. One of the most prolific members of this family is Andrea Agnelli. Andrea serves as president of Juventus, one of Italy’s most prolific football clubs. His father was also president of Juventus and served on the Italian senate. There are no less than a dozen members of this family and together they own Exor and Fiat – with many members serving on the board of governors for both companies.
2 Leonardo Del Vecchio -- Net Worth: $19.1 Billion
Leonardo Del Vecchio is the owner and founder of Luxottica, a company which owns both Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. His stores number over 6,000 and his companies employ more than 73,000 employees. Not only is Del Vecchio the second richest man in Italy, he’s also the 38th richest man in the entire world. Del Vecchio’s background is extremely interesting. An orphan, he began his career as a tool and dye apprentice. Eventually he used his metalworking skills in conjunction with lenses and spectacles. His company began by selling frames to eyeglass companies and eventually expanded to absorb a distribution company. He eventually struck a deal with Armani and purchased Vogue, LensCrafters, and Sunglass Hut.
1 Michele Ferrero -- Net Worth: $26 Billion
Ferrero is the richest Italian and the 20th wealthiest person in the world. He built his company over the course of his life and owns several well-known brands in the candy and food industry including; Nutella, Mon Cheri, Kinder Chocolate, Tic Tacs, Kinder Eggs, and of course Ferrero Rocher. Ferrero planned to leave his company to his two sons but in 1997 his son Pietro died in an accident in South Africa. His remaining son Giovanni still stands to inherit all of Michele’s wealth and the company upon his death.