Martino Zanetti’s 80 years: a life dedicated to coffee, art and culture

A thousand-page novel would not be enough to comprehensively tell the life of Martino Zanetti. The entrepreneur, but also the artist. The Alpine officer, but also the talented painter. The pianist passionate about music and the scholar intrigued by history, but also the skilled businessman capable of sensational financial exploits. Martino Zanetti, the optimist and the thoughtful. The collector and the philanthropist. A man of thought and action, always guided by instinct and a burning passion for work and culture. A passion that knows no age.

But who really is Martino Zanetti, the entrepreneur from Treviso who, on February 4th, will reach the prestigious milestone of turning 80? Who is the man at the helm of the Hausbrandt Group, an empire with a hundred million turnover? Who is the doyen of roasters who has closely linked his name to the long tradition of coffee? Born in 1944, during an Allied bombing, in his grandfather’s lawyer’s office in the center of Treviso, Martino Zanetti grew up in an era of rebirth and restart for the city, for the region and for Italy. An era of great opportunities, which the young man will be able to fully grasp, thanks to an innate sense for business, perhaps inherited from the ancient Venetian merchants and artists, present in the family tree of his paternal and maternal families. The Group. From a local reality to a true giant known throughout the world. With a strong ability to navigate the world of work, taking advantage of his father’s precious teachings, Martino Zanetti has managed over the years to carve out a leading role in the competitive coffee market, forging ahead and inaugurating his first factory in 1970. An overwhelming success, which led to the acquisition of the historic Trieste brand Hausbrandt. It was the year 1988 when, during a short holiday at the seaside, a phone call from an accountant friend presented Martino Zanetti with the offer: the brand was for sale, not due to a crisis but by will. As happened several times in his life, faced with a unique opportunity, the entrepreneur from Treviso was able to make the right choice. Without great numerical calculations, but guided by that rationality that has always characterized him, Martino Zanetti has therefore completed one of the best deals of his entrepreneurial life. Under his leadership, thanks to a new and modern vision, the Group has grown exponentially, brilliantly overcoming even the difficult Covid period. Today Hausbrandt has in fact recorded a 15% growth in turnover, which stands at around 100 million euros. An international group, which has around five hundred collaborators and a large roasting plant in Nervesa della Battaglia, also in the Treviso area. Important numbers, which however do not fully convey the idea of the profound work carried out by Martino Zanetti, whose coffee is now served all over the world. A cutting-edge reality, well structured and professionally managed not only by Martino Zanetti, but also by an almost entirely female governance.

Coffee, but not only. Another characteristic of the entrepreneur is that of being able to make the most of every product on which he focuses his attention. This is demonstrated by the success achieved by the Col Sandago brands, in the wine sector, and Theresianer, in the world of quality beer, without forgetting the more recent Martin Orsyn, signature champagne. All bets won, thanks to uncommon foresight.

Art and the Foundation. If on the one hand Martino Zanetti therefore represents a leading figure in the Veneto business scene and beyond, other important merits must be recognized in the artistic, cultural and historical fields. Like a “Pico della Mirandola of modern times”, who grew up with a book always in hand, Martino Zanetti has demonstrated a great predisposition for art since he was a child, especially for painting and music. Fascinated from a very young age by numerous artists, over the years the entrepreneur developed a recognized pictorial ability, which led him to exhibit his works in various cities and within important international collections. For Martino Zanetti, painting is drawing and color, emotion. Color is his interpretation of sensations where the word has no place, because drawing and color replace it. Concepts also valid in the world of music: the entrepreneur, who in fact loves playing the piano, believes that the artist is realized in his sensitive communion with the spectator, be it a painter, musician or actor.

Among the many merits in the artistic field, the intuition relating to the Palladian Villa Barbaro in Maser and its “scenic movement”, connected with the Shakespearean world, is memorable.

A 400-year-long enigma, solved through the study of the books of Vitruvius, Trissino and Andrea Palladio, which allowed the scholar-entrepreneur to identify the thread that unites the architecture of the historic building, commissioned by Daniele Barbaro, to the work of English playwright and poet. In fact, it did not escape the attentive eye of Martino Zanetti that the frescoes of Villa Maser, created by Paolo Veronese, depict scenes from comedies, particularly from The Merchant of Venice. Barbaro was in fact an architect, Palladio’s master of architecture and Veronese’s master of painting, and he wanted to fix his concept of artistic communication, of the scene, in an artefact, in a Villa.
Precisely his immense love for art recently led Martino Zanetti to create the Hausbrandt 1892 Foundation, based in Vienna; created to bring to light, or rather to the knowledge, of an advanced public the identity of Europe and its historical, artistic and cultural heritage, the Foundation aims to encourage humanistic studies with various initiatives and with the scientific collaboration of institutions academic and cultural, Italian and foreign, including renowned French, German, Austrian, Spanish, Dutch research institutions and others.
The precious and unique collection of over 10,000 ancient volumes in Italian, French and English, in the possession of Martino Zanetti, was donated to the Foundation to give academics and scholars from every country the opportunity to consult and study a rare wealth of knowledge and of inestimable cultural value.
Among the upcoming events organized by the Foundation, coordinated by Professor Flavia Buzzetta, the series of meetings “Other Renaissances”. The first, Sunday 25 February, entitled “Shakespeare, who is he?”, will be held within the walls of the Monastery of Santa Caterina, in Treviso.

At 80 years old, Martino Zanetti, a visionary and histrionic artist, intends to continue on the path traced over the course of these decades, characterized by great successes in the corporate, artistic, cultural and historical fields. Surrounded by young and dynamic figures and with the enthusiasm of those who always think about tomorrow, Martino Zanetti looks ahead, thinking about the future, without ever forgetting the past.

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