Parmesan industrialist (1880-1947), born from a
humble family of artisans, he and his brother Gualtiero inherited from his father - Pietro, an oven for baking bread and a small laboratory for the making of dough products started up by his father in 1877 in the previously named road "Corso Vittorio Emanuele", which has now become "Strada Repubblica"). The First World War and the war economy gave a particular increase to production, so much that at the end of the war the Barilla brothers (who had begun to work at the end of the century) found themselves running a real factory
with more than two hundred employees.
When his brother Gualtiero died, Riccardo carried on the business with his wife Virginia and became the first in Italy to industrialize the production of bread; at the same time he embarked on a plan for the development of the company, through the mechanization of dough production and turning it into an efficient commercial organization.
The Barilla products began to cross the national boundaries and by the beginning of the Second World War, they were present in all the Italian colonies of that time. During this period the company's growth continued, reaching 800 employees, with a daily production of 700 tons of pasta and 150 tons of bread. At the outburst of the Second World War, Parma owned one of the most important pasta factories, which thanks to its strength during the years of war was capable of producing night and day for the population of every part of Italy. Riccardo Barilla died in 1947, when the management of the company had already been
handed over to his sons Pietro and Gianni.
In 1952 the company suspended the production of bread in order to dedicate itself primarily to the production of wheat and egg pasta; at the same time began the substitution of a few loose items with a standard size box packaging. An intense pubblicity campaign began with the famous slogan "It's always Sunday with Barilla pasta". In 1970 the new
factory at Pedrignano was opened, with a production strength of ten thousand tons of pasta a
day, which is equivalent to 50 trailer trucks. In 1971 the shareholding passed over to the
multinational company Grace, but in 1979 Pietro Barilla returned as owner and president.