Friday, September 16, 2022

Luigi Spadoni, the founder of Spazio Spadoni, an extraordinary man

If you read my recent blog about Spazio Spadoni, you may be wondering—as I did—who is Luigi Cesare Pizzi Spadoni? Where does he fit in our family tree? And what kind of a man is he, to do what he is doing now?

Luigi Spadoni, with Carlo and Paul
Luigi was born the same year as I, 1953. He does not exactly fit in our family tree as it stands presently, but both Carlo Spadoni and I are convinced Luigi is a descendant of Francesco Spadoni, born around 1455 and the father of two sons born in nearby Stignano in the late 1400s. Francesco is the common ancestor of pretty much every Spadoni family in the Valdinievole.

Luigi knows only that his family comes from Fucecchio, but he can’t trace that back further than his grandfather. Fucecchio is about 13 miles south of Stignano, and I have never checked to see if the baptismal records for the churches there are available to the public. However, from legal documents that Carlo has obtained, we’re aware that several Spadoni families from Stignano owned property in Fucecchio, and it is likely that Luigi has descended from one of these families. His family could also have moved there in later centuries.

Without hunting down the documents or doing a Y-DNA test, we’ll likely never know with 100 percent certainty if Luigi is a descendant of Francesco, but the likelihood is high, given the geographical realities.

Luigi, Paul, Carlo at the Convent
of San Cerbone, near Lucca, the
headquarters of Spazio Spadoni.
This leaves us with the question about what kind of man he is, and since I only met with him for a dinner and tour of the convent in San Cerbone, I have only a few immediate impressions. I know that in 1988, he and his father Giuseppe founded Spencer Italia, now one of the largest suppliers of emergency medical equipment in the world, a company that is committed to “take on the difficult challenges that the delicate and dynamic EMS market throws up every day, putting in commitment, passion and quality.”

The company’s website further states that it provides “a range of more than 1,700 products, efficiently covering the emergency, medical and funeral sectors. When it comes to safety, quality is not an option; it is the minimum requirement of any performance intended to last. Every project at Spencer is born to set new quality standards. Constant interaction with customers and operators is how quality can be moved to its highest limits. This is how the true soul of innovation is nurtured.”

I also know that for much of his life, Luigi has been an active member of the Misercordia, which gave him regular opportunities to see his products put to use, and which also kept him in close contact with other users of medical equipment. Since Luigi did not marry and has no children, when he sold the company about two years ago, he decided to invest his money and time in a new organization with ambitious goals.

Luigi, second from left, at the recent 
convention on courage at Spazio Spadoni
In my brief contact with Luigi, I quickly concluded that he’s a man of vision, action and compassion. When asked why he didn’t marry, he told me that no woman would have been able to put up with him. Spazio Spadoni, though it works with organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church, does not seem like an overtly religious organization. The website states: “With a view to being at the service of the development of mission processes of mercy, the foundation therefore makes itself available to host individuals, groups, and organizations that wish to use the convent for personal or group moments where they can meditate, study, discuss and plan.”

Realizing that my brief time with Luigi would not be nearly enough to give me an accurate picture of who he is, I asked his chief administrator, Selene Pera, to collect some statements from people who have known Luigi through the years. Here are the results.

Alberto Di Grazia: “He’s a person in perpetual motion, with interests in different fields, even apparently distant from each other but united by passion. He’s a friend you can count on, who does not back down when a hand is needed. He’s an entrepreneur, a volcano of projects, which—most importantly—he regularly succeeds in carrying out; and with his own abilities, not by exploiting others, as often, unfortunately, happens. He’s a practical dreamer; a characteristic of him is tending to think outside the box; he uses so-called “lateral thinking,” always aimed at the concreteness of the result.”

Lucia Anghinetti: “Luigi is not just a man but a universe capable of creating worlds—worlds so distant and yet connected by the tenacious threads of intuition, concreteness, dreams, courage, instinct, generosity and passion for challenges. His achievements are numerous and recognized in all the areas in which he has expressed himself, yet this is not what makes him an extraordinary individual. His main talent is never losing sight of wonder. His eyes are always alight with wonder at life, at sunsets, at blossoming trees, at hugs, at flowing river water, at the hues and colors of the soul that make his persona. He is a Person.”

Nino Savarino: “Luigi is a man of deep faith and in love with God. He combines the beauty of inner silence and communion with God with the concrete action of the works of mercy. A missionary of working love, Luigi has succeeded in bringing together confraternities of mercy and religious congregations scattered throughout the world for the offering of the heart to the poor and men of good will. Luigi knows how to take your hands and pray together.”

Andrea Del Bianco: “Luigi is truly a ‘great soul.’ It’s incredible how such a busy person always finds time to think about everyone. He’s “un Grande,” a “Big Person,” but he is always able to smile and be amazed at even the smallest things. When you need him, he is there. Always. Often before. Luigi is a true entrepreneur, giving off endless energy, almost restless, but always capable of combining a great sense of doing with a depth of being.”

My own final observation: “Luigi is a credit to the Spadoni name . . . and the human race.”

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