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Francisco Piria was born in Montevideo August 21,
1847, son of Lorenzo and Serafina Piria Grossi, of Genoese origin. His
grandfather, Joseph Piria conducted naval transportation businesses in Buenos
Aires, making periodic trips to Montevideo, back in 1810, with the frigate "Conception."
Don Lorenzo Piria, father of Francisco, followed the family tradition and
settled in Montevideo after serving in the same branch activity. The origin of
Piria was modest and thanks to the intervention of an uncle, a priest, had the
opportunity to study in Europe. Based in the Uruguayan capital, he decided
to experiment in a unknown business field: clothing apparel - especially "The
Remington" coats- a shop in the Old Market in Montevideo.
A fire virtually put Piria in the street but, boasting an exceptional contraction to work,
rebuilt the shop and continued in the mall industry. In the first block of
Avenida 18 de Julio in Montevideo, opened" The National Exhibition"
selling various goods.
In mid 1873,
with an outstanding capital stock of three million pesos, founded "The
Industrial" which led him to hold in the commercial activity that ruled his
life in the future: the auctioneer. As a teenager, was conducting auctions with a
He applied knowledge and cunning and very quickly managed to turn wastelands in
inhabited places, growing his fortune, which came to do no less than twenty two
trips to Europe.
In 1890, at the incomparable beauty of the landscapes , decided
to acquire land in the vicinity of the named Puerto del Inglés at the foot of
the huge hill that now bears the name of the Pan de Azúcar. In order to do a
good transaction, Francisco showed his discontent and negative impression of
this region of the mountains when he was invited there to tempt him to buy them.
When the owner became convinced that this really was a "wasteland of stones and
infinite solitude of sand and wind" and not worth a copper, Piria took to buy
... to 50 cents a hectare.
Piria was then 45 years and with an exemplary demonstration of
perseverance, began planting trees to hold the mobile dune sands that covered
anything he wish to build. In turn, he grew in his mind the great idea of a spa
town, imitating those famous in Europe that impressed him in each trip.
Piria moved to the place of his visionary PIRIA-POLIS and built, around 1897, a
residence that is now known today as Castle Piria, dignified place for a real
museum to remind him after his death.
The origin of the city responds faithfully to the etymology of its name:
Piriápolis, "Piria City." It is the only city in the country that was conceived,
planned and then carried by a person, Francisco Piria.
returning from one of many trips to Europe, came to a rugged coastline, wild,
known as "Puerto del Inglés" (now Port Piriápolis). Conceived then, impressed by
the beauty of the Riviera, in full swing, found the resort city of the future.
That same year he purchases land to the descendants of Leonardo Olivera and face
the transformation of the landscape: inhospitable fields become olive groves,
vineyards, orchards, forests, pine forests. Hundreds of men and women and dozens
of machines are shaping the dream of Piria.