The cork-manufacturing company “G.M. Luico” began with Giovanni Foppiano, the husband of Giulia Casazza, who was the great-grandmother of Giacomo Manlio Luico. G.M. kept running the business until 1994, when his son Carlo took over. Carlo is still there today behind the historic counter in the small quaint shop where you can hear lots of fascinating tales about the past. There are ordinary wine corks and more elaborate bottle stoppers of various sizes for every need, labels and bottling accessories, antique cork processing equipment displayed on wooden shelves and drawers from the early twentieth century as well as the silver medal received in 1879. Until the middle of the 20th century the firm manufactured the merchandise in the nearby workshop in Vico delle Fucine – with a workforce in double figures – using raw material to make its sought after natural (one-piece) corks and many other items made out of cork. Later, the production process was partly industrialised. The shop, frequented by the likes of Giuseppe Garibaldi during his Genoese period and the actor Gilberto Govi, who often used props made of cork for his plays, continues to be a major attraction for the city’s residents, reminding them of the great history associated with this specific field of activity.
The company rented a property with woodlands at Finalmarina. The trees were stripped of their top layer of bark in an age-old process, the oak strips were left to cure in the open air for at least 16 to 18 months, then boiled in large copper vats and subsequently stacked, smoothed, softened and trimmed using knives and manual lathes before being turned into corks.