Tuesday, December 31, 2019

In Memory of Nicolò Luxardo (1927-2019)

Nicolò Luxardo III (1927-2019)
The Luxardo name is synonymous with a success story and with an enlightened company which is always attentive to its employees, but it is also inextricably linked to the painful and unforgettable page of the destruction of Zara, the Julian-Dalmatian exodus and the tenacious memory of the exiled communities. The whole of Veneto must be grateful to Nicolò – an Istrian of Ligurian descent – for having the strength to be reborn, which he demonstrated by making our land the homeland of Maraschino.”
– Luca Zaia, President of Veneto

It is sad to report that Nicolò Luxardo III, a member of the illustrious Luxardo family, passed away in his home in Padua earlier this month on December 3, 2019. He was an Italian Dalmatian exile and entrepreneur who helped rebuild the Luxardo company after the tragedies the World War II.

Nicolò was born in Trieste in 1927. His family, known throughout the world for its maraschino liqueur produced in the Dalmatian city of Zara, was then enjoying a business resurgence in the Kingdom of Italy. In 1943, however, the city of Zara was destroyed by Allied bombings and reduced to a pile of rubble. Tito's Yugoslav Partisans then descended upon Zara in 1944 and began a series of massacres which nearly wiped out the entire Luxardo family. His father Pietro, his uncle Nicolò II and his aunt Bianca were all murdered by the Yugoslavs. His uncle Giorgio (1897-1963) was the sole survivor of his generation.

Despite the millennial Italian character of the city and its population, the city of Zara was annexed to Yugoslavia after the war. Like thousands of other Italians of the Eastern Adriatic, the Luxardos were forced to abandon their native land and their factory, which was seized by the Yugoslav Communists, and had to rebuild their company in post-war Italy.

After conducting research and experiments aimed at finding an ideal location to grow the maraschino cherry, the company was reborn in 1947 in Torreglia, a small town in the province of Padua at the foot of the Euganean Hills. Here, Nicolò and his uncle Giorgio rebuilt the company which had been founded in Zara by Girolamo Luxardo in 1821. When he re-founded the company with his uncle, Nicolò was just twenty years old.

Nicolò Luxardo was a great man, entrepreneur, innovator and precursor of the times who witnessed so much history – some of it frightening – with the will to be reborn, enlightened pragmatism, and extraordinary moral strength, which are his greatest legacies. ... The personality and example of Nicolò Luxardo will be a guide for our entrepreneurs, especially the youngest ones whom he dedicated particular care to, who will respect the ideals in which he believed and invested: work, family, culture, history, attachment to the territory, attention to the product and attention to quality, which made Luxardo and his Maraschino an admirable example, known and appreciated all over the world.”
– Massimo Finco, Deputy President of Assindustria Venetocentro

In the following decades the Luxardo company had to fight numerous lawsuits against Croatian imitators in Yugoslavia who were attempting to market Maraschino liqueur using the Luxardo trademark. The Luxardo's successfully won all the court cases against them. Upon Giorgio's death in 1963, Nicolò assumed presidency of the company and resigned only in 2000, at the age of 73.

In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Nicolò Luxardo was a great lover of beauty: he oversaw the restorations of many Venetian villas, collected books on the Julian-Dalmatian Exodus and on the history of the Republic of Genoa, the original birthplace of his ancestors.

In Padua he founded the Giovani imprenditori di Confindustria (a group of young entrepreneurs), oversaw the publication of the Dalmatian Italian magazine “Rivista dalmatica di storia patria” and wrote two books: the first dedicated to his family and the company, entitled “I Luxardo del maraschino”, and the second dedicated to the story of his father, uncle and aunt who were killed during the war, entitled “Oltre gli scogli di Zara”.

With Nicolò Luxardo's death Italy loses one of its last surviving representatives of Italianity in the Eastern Adriatic, as well as a great industrialist.

He leaves behind his wife Anna Maria Angelini, a poetess with whom he had two children, Guido and Piero, who run the Luxardo company with their cousins; the latter has also been the chairman of the Campiello Prize Management Committee since 2011.

Wife Anna Maria, sons Piero with Cristina, Guido with Elena,
sister Alessandra, grandchildren Alvise, Martina, Gaia, Nicolò,
Chiara, Laura and Francesco, with deep sorrow announce
the loss of Nicolò Luxardo Franchi, 92 years old.