The interweaving of two vital roads

The ancient way of salt and the way of love.

A romantic story of over one hundred years ago. From Turin to Parma following passion.

Luigi Rizzoli (the founder of the first company) was the great-grandfather of the current president of Rizzoli Emanuelli, Dr. Antonio Rizzoli. Luigi Rizzoli had a brother, Emilio Zeffirino, who was mainly responsible for the sale of the finished product. He traveled around Italy looking for customers to place the two products: anchovies in hot sauce and anchovies in extra virgin olive oil. It was during his business trips that Emilio Zeffirino met Antonietta Emanuelli in Fiorenzuola d’Arda, who belonged to a family with excellent economic possibilities. The two got married and decided to open, together with their brothers, a new factory in Parma in 1906 and to call it Rizzoli Emanuelli & C.

The activity of filleting and packaging anchovies was carried out in Turin where there was a centuries-old tradition due to the particular position of the city on one of the branches of the ancient salt road.

Moving to Parma would have allowed to obtain a good knowledge in the production of canned food (the industries of canned tomatoes were very developed) and consequently, also of manual skills and labor.

Generations upon generations followed one another at the helm of the company. Many different and strong personalities that have allowed Rizzoli Emanuelli to grow at a national level and then in international markets.

The famous aunt Clelia, born in 1893, when she was only 13 years old entered the company to lead it. A person remembered for her generosity and simplicity, she began her career as a fish cleaning worker.

From the factory in the center of Parma, 50 women would leave on foot and by bicycle, singing a nursery rhyme « if you want to eat well and have beautiful children, eat Rizzoli Emanuelli anchovies ». There was a cheerful and happy atmosphere in the company. This is the true DNA of the company that has been handed down in the company management that will always be totally family-run.

Rizzoli anchovies in hot sauce are the real symbol of the company. Preserved in the now historical golden tin package, they are dipped in a sauce so precious that its recipe is secret and has been handed down over the years only by word of mouth from father to son.

There is a romantic story behind this world famous product.

Even the way of weighing ingredients is very original. In fact, in order to measure aromas and spices without anyone being able to steal the family secret, special weights were put on the scales, metal objects which acted as units of measure, which only the firstborn of the family knew. Even cooking times are a jealously guarded secret. The sauce is left to mature for 6 months in wooden barrels used for the aging of marsala. Each step continues to be done by hand respecting the ancient tradition. The smells and flavors have remained the ones that have made this product one of the symbols of Italian cuisine.

The sauce is made of many ingredients. Its uniqueness is given both by the proportions of these ingredients and by the way they are processed. Everything is the same as 115 years ago.

The suppliers of the ingredients have been the same for more than 100 years. There was a period during the second world war when one of the suppliers was forced to stop production because the spices arrived from far away countries. Not being able to have the usual raw materials, Rizzoli also stopped the production of the sauce. The rooms where the sauce is produced are kept secret. Only the two generations still present in the company know the production process.

It is a company that keeps unchanged the two main cornerstones: the constant search for quality and innovation. The symbol of the three gnomes smiling on the milk was always meant to be a symbol of good omen. Symbols that will be of great comfort to the Italian army during the Great War. The company decided to send as a gift special cans especially made for the boys at the front.

Many evolutions in the various decades in the company structure more and more of international level but also in the product and packaging following the market needs, brought on the shelves the tuna in glass, in order to show the hand cut fillets or the single dose anchovies.

Another step towards the consolidation of the relationship of respect and trust with the consumer is the online traceability of the product, with information on the species, area, date and method of fishing, but also the name of the fishing boat, the date of arrival of the fish in the plant and all the information on controls.

Today the company has a turnover of over thirty million euros with double-digit growth also in 2020. For 2021 the words of Massimo Rizzoli General Manager « It will be a more intimate year, but one of hope. It will be the umpteenth proof that nothing can stop Italian invective and excellence, not even the most agitated seas. And I can say that we understand the seas. »

That intertwining of the ancient way of salt and the way of love, with which everything began at the end of the nineteenth century, is still passed down daily on tables all over the world.

Matteo Donelli

International manager and journalist, he has held the role of president and vice-president of companies in the USA, China and Brazil on behalf of an Italian company. Journalist for Emilian and national newspapers, he is author of the books « Orientarsi in Cina » and « Brazil, storie dell’altro mondo ».