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The Rags-to-Riches Journey of Italy’s Ray-Ban Billionaire

A new book by Bloomberg’s Tommaso Ebhardt traces the rise of Leonardo Del Vecchio from an orphanage in Milan to a $30 billion fortune.

Leonardo Del Vecchio and his wife attend a cocktail party in Milan in 2011.

Leonardo Del Vecchio and his wife attend a cocktail party in Milan in 2011.

Photographer: Getty Images

Updated on

This story, based on a book by Bloomberg’s Tommaso Ebhardt chronicling the rise of Leonardo Del Vecchio to one of the richest men in Italy, was originally published on May 13. EssilorLuxottica today announced that Del Vecchio has died.

With her fourth child living as a street urchin in war-torn Milan in 1942, Grazia Rocco, a widow, made a fateful decision: she appealed to the city’s orphanage to take in the seven-year-old, Leonardo Del Vecchio.