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The Story of Furio Benfenati


Duke's are delighted to be offering this collecton of fishing takle with impressive provenance in our forthcoming Sporting and Natural History auction 

Wednesday 4th October at 10.30am 

From left: Daniele, Adamo, Furio and Roberto

Born in Bologna (Northern Italy) in 1941 in a family of “other times” when people were used to making many things with their own hands. He was a very renowned cardiologist in the province of Bologna, but was maybe more famous thanks to one of his hobbies: fishing.

From his father Adamo, also a doctor, who first introduced “big game” fishing in Italy, he learned hunting and fishing among many other passions. The family built their experience in these fields abroad and in Italy, especially in the region of the River Po, which ends in the Adriatic Sea with a majestic Delta. Furio and his father (later on also his brother, Daniele, and his wife Maria Assunta) fished in fresh and sea water. They used to make their own rods.

Adamo Benfenati with one of the first tunas

In the Northern Adriatic Sea, in 1968, Adamo (the father) spotted many big tunas coming in late summer and he wondered if it was possible to catch them with a rod. The locals barely believed it was possible. Adamo then travelled to Port De Bouc in France and learned their method. In the early 70’s, after the first catch, a new sport was born: many people followed the path and Italy also hosted some great competitions organised by clubs and marinas. Furio mastered his father’s skills and went further: he held the Italian record (Tuna) for a few years and then tried several techniques, aiming to balance catching and respecting the environment. He liked fishing in all waters and continued his learning quest, travelling to South America, Africa and Northern Europe.

His experience lead him to write several articles for specialist magazines, a book and he also represented Italy at the EFSA World Championship in South Africa. The brand “Italcanna” started a production of fishing gear designed by him. The whole family experienced fishing of all kinds in different parts of the world, with their travels documented in specialist magazines.

As any good fisherman, Furio used to make his own bait, rods and equipment along with being always updated with the products of the most relevant brands in the field. A large collection that was well preserved and, when he died in 2019, was inherited by his son Roberto, who now lives in the UK.

Fishing in Lofoten archipelago (Norway)