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FOTOMauro Saviola

Much more than a successful entrepreneur. Mauro Saviola is first of all a man who believed in the power of his idea and he pursued it with tenacity until it was realised.

A story of passion and strong intuition, where the professional skills and life events were intertwined with a common thread: the immense love for wood.

Mauro Saviola learns about wood as a child, and learns to appreciate it and shape it in the workshop of his father Alfredo, a cabinetmaker, where he is already an apprentice carpenter at age 11, in 1949. We are in the post-war years, deep poverty pushes everyone to improvise ways to earn a living, and Saviola’s workshop resorts to building broom handles. With the emergence of the vacuum cleaner, the Saviolas have to fall back on the trade of wood and coal for heating. But once again progress plays a dirty trick on the small company when wood stoves are superseded by butane gas, which brings heat into homes eliminating the demand for firewood.

Now comes the right idea: Mauro Saviola sees, during a trip to Germany, a plant that shreds branches and presses the shavings. It will be the way of his future. He orders one just like it, even if the cost of 350 million seems like an insurmountable obstacle. With the help of a brother and a cousin, and taking on some promissory notes, he manages to convince the Germans to give him a little credit, and he start his project.


Mauro Saviola began manufacturing the first panels made with poplar prunings, and it is an immediate success. The only problems are related to the urea glue, which is supplied by Montecatini and by Sir, owned by the oil magnate Nino Rovelli, chemical giants that push prices upwards. After a similar experience with Austria, which also senses the good deal, in 1968 Saviola builds a factory in Viadana, to source the glue independently, and in 1973 he opens Sadepan Chimica, the largest producer in Italy of wood glue with low formaldehyde content. The chemical hub undergoes a rapid development over the years, becoming the leading national provider of urea and melamine resins. The latest chemical plant was inaugurated in December 2003 in Genk, Belgium.

Meanwhile, the technologies evolve, the research continues unabated, profits rise, gradually reaching today’s reality: an industrial system consisting of 20 companies spread across Lombardy, Veneto, Tuscany and Marche, with factories in Argentina, Belgium, Germany, and over 1500 employees. Employees who have always been called “associates”, given the sincere relationship of trust that has been established over time with them.

After forty years of intense activity, the Saviola Group is now the undisputed leader in Ecological Panels for furniture. Mauro Saviola led is for fifty years, with wisdom, courage, tenacity and passion. He passed away at age 70, in 2009, leaving the family with the task of leading the group; the eldest son Alessandro took on the chairmanship.