The company was founded in 1886 in Castelnuovo Rangone, near the city of Modena. After a short spell spent marketing dry-cured ham, Ernesta and Costante Villani unleashed their enterprising spirit by purchasing a building in the town centre, where they started producing salami, coppa, bacon, mortadella and cooked ham. The historical premises still house the company’s business headquarters manufacturing unit. Back in the 1930s, Villani was already demonstrating its export acumen, and the crates had long been bearing the words “destination: New York”.The turning point in that period was brought about by Giuseppe, one of Costante’s eleven children. Showing a particularly innovative streak, he returned from a trip to the States with an idea destined to revolutionise the air-dried pork production process: drying hangers.
These mobile hangers, which are still used today as the basis of the modern drying process, were quickly adopted by charcuterie producers everywhere. Next, Giuseppe’s boundless enthusiasm for the flavours of Italy took him on a voyage of discovery in search of new regional recipes and methods, earning him experience that proved priceless for the creation of uniquely delicious charcuterie. Production expanded to include a vast assortment of regional specialities, which were sold not only worldwide, but also in the towns that produced their original recipes, demonstrating the appreciation and recognition of their high quality. These strong roots provide support for the company today, which produces and sells premium products with the DOP and IGP labels it is entitled to use thanks to its five production plants located in the relative geographical areas.