Between 1899 and 1900 lithographic printing on stone was introduced to Parma by Ferdinando Zafferri, founder of the Anonima Zafferri (Zafferri Anonymous Society), whose first premises were in Via Farini and then moved to Viale Tanara, near the Barilla factory. In 1912 Gaetano, Ferdinando’s nephew, together with his brother Alberto (in the photo), former owner of the Sant’Agostino printing works, set up the Industrie Grafiche F.lli Zafferri with premises in Piazzale Stazione, in Palazzo Mantovani (1). In the period between the two wars the printing works, which was equipped with the most up to date equipment, became renowned nationwide in the commercial printing sector and employed about a hundred workers (2). It specialized in the production of labels and boxes for packaging and numbered among its clients, in addition to Barilla, numerous other pasta factories including Voiello, Russo, Amato, Braibanti and DeCecco. Artistic direction was entrusted to Pietro Ambrosioni, a graphic designer and engraver, and undoubtedly the author of many sketches for calendars, postcards and advertising posters and signs. Among the employees there were also four or five permanent designers – mention should be made of Riccardo Monti and Amedeo Secchi – and external collaborators such as Raoul Allegri and Giuseppe Venturini.
For Barillla, Industrie Grafiche Zafferri produced most of the commercial printed material from the mid 1920s onward: pocket calendars, headed writing paper, postcards, catalogs and posters. Zafferri made the ‘windowed’ boxes for Fosfina pasta, launched by Pietro Barilla in 1938.The Anonima Zafferri Society, on the other hand, was mainly responsible for printing Barilla’s labels – designed by Pierino Barbieri – until the onset of the war (3). In the post-war period the company’s production moved towards the paper industry sector, giving up commercial lithography. The packages designed by Erberto Carboni (4) were still fine tuned and produced in the Zafferri factory for Barilla.

Giancarlo Gonizzi


1 Memoir written by Bruno Pelagatti, employee from 1937, from 1961 in the Management company of the firm.
2 “La visita del Prefetto e del Federale alle Industrie Grafiche F.lli Zafferri” (The visit of the Prefect and of Federal Inspector to the Zafferri’s Brothers Graphic Industries), in GP, 1939, 27 October, p. 2.
3 Oral testimony by Pierino Barbieri, designer at the Anonima Zafferri.
4 ASB, Na Confezioni Pasta Barilla 1952 (Barilla Pasta packaging from 1952); Confezioni Pasta Barilla 1956 (Barilla Pasta packaging from 1956).