Giacomo Morra

was born in La Morra (Italy).
At the age of 19, he started working in a trattoria in the town of Gallo. A few years later, together with his brothers Andrea, Giovanni and Matteo, he opened Ristorante delle Langhe in Alba.
Life with his brothers seemed to hinder Giacomo's desire to gain experience on his own, so he left Alba and moved to Turin, where he opened a trattoria and wine shop in Via Nizza.
The 1920s
An agreement entered into with his brothers, according to which he was prevented from returning to work as a restaurateur in Alba, turned out to be painful: his nostalgia for the Langhe intensified. Giacomo Morra began reflecting on the potential of the Alba White Truffle: customers in Turin were willing to pay top prices for this delicacy, while in the Langhe the “trifulau” were selling it very cheaply. He reconnected with his brother Andrea and asked him to talk to the others about waiving the agreement.
At last he was able to return to Alba: he bought the Hotel Savona and began working on promoting the area via the truffle. Together with his wife Teresa, he became a point of reference for tourists: the Hotel closed only after the arrival of the last train to Alba and opened before the departure of the first one in the morning.
Giacomo Morra launched the first edition of the Truffle Fair. The idea behind the event was linked to another celebration of the time, the Festa della Vendemmia, to celebrate the grape harvest, held every autumn in the town of Alba. Initially, the Truffle Fair was an event celebrated during the Festa della Vendemmia but the Fair gradually gained importance and became more famous than the previous celebration.
Giacomo established Tartufi Morra, the first company dedicated to the marketing and processing of the Alba White Truffle. A restaurateur with great culinary intuition, he invented a considerable number of antipasti. And he devised a system for preserving truffles.
The Alba Fair became the Truffle Fair. This was the launch of a historical event which earned Alba international acclaim in the food world.

His entrepreneurial skills and ability to promote the area's fine food and wine earned him the title of King of the Truffle. It was Enzo Arnaldi that gave him this name, in a long interview published in Stampa Sera on the 29th of October.

“People with initiative, the people of Alba, like this Giacomo Morra who has set up a hotel worthy of a big city, such is its perfection and rationality. It even has telephones in every room, and the cellar and kitchen feature miracles of modernity”.

Tartufi Morra arrived in America: fresh and preserved truffles began appearing in shops. This was the definitive consecration of the brand.
Giacomo died suddenly of a brain haemorrhage on the 8th of December. Apparently, despite being exhausted after a strong bout of flu, he got up in the middle of the night to go and personally choose a calf to slaughter for the forthcoming celebration of the 50th anniversary of his wedding to Teresa and the 100th anniversary of the Hotel Savona. His sons Mario, Giorgio and Francesco took up his legacy. The tradition passed from family to family and was embraced in the 1990s by the Bonino brothers, who still run Tartufi Morra.