The Italian Almanac

Ricasoli castle and winery

Italian News - April 18

Think that Bay Area companies like Fireman's Fund that survived the 1906 earthquake are old? To find really old companies, take a trip to Asia or Europe. Family Business magazine lists the following as the oldest family-owned companies in the world:

-- Kongo Gumi (Osaka, Japan), founded 578. Now run by the 40th generation of the same family, this construction firm began by building the Buddhist Shitennoji Temple in Osaka, which still stands.

-- Hoshi Ryokan (Komatsu, Japan), founded 718. Innkeeping.

-- Fonderia Pontificia Marinelli (Agnone, Italy), founded about 1000. Bell foundry.

-- Barone Ricasoli (Siena, Italy), founded 1141. Wine and olive oil.

-- Barovier & Toso (Murano Venezia, Italy), founded 1295. Glass making.

-- Hotel Pilgrim Haus (Soest, Germany), founded 1304. Innkeeping.

-- Richard de Bas (Ambert d'Auvergne, France), founded 1326. Paper manufacturing.

-- Torrini Firenze (Florence, Italy), founded 1369. Goldsmiths.

-- Antinori (Florence, Italy), founded 1385. Wine.

-- Camuffo (Portogruaro, Italy), founded 1438. Shipbuilding.