Five hundred years ago, Venetian tradesmen would often reuse leftover pieces of marble and mix them with clay or other natural matrices and create terraces in their homes, or “terrazzo” in Italian. This tradition shifted to North America in the late 19th century when millions of Italian terrazzo workers, or terrazzieri, immigrated to the United States. The Rosa family was a part of this mass immigration.
After emigrating from Friuli in northern Italy to Kentucky in 1909, Louis Rosa began his career as an employee of his cousins, Romano and Keno Rosa, at American Mosaic & Tile. In 1937, Romano sold his interest in American Mosaic and joined forces with Louis to begin a new company, Rosa Mosaic & Tile Company (“Rosa Mosaic”).
In December 1949, a passionate and talented young teenager, John Cristofoli, emigrated with his family from Tauriano, Italy. Soon after arriving, John went to work doing odd jobs for Rosa Mosaic around the shop until he reached the age of 18, which was the legal age required to work on job sites. Recognized by the Rosa family as a natural craftsman with an unparalleled work ethic, he quickly rose through the ranks and became the unquestioned field leader of the company.
John became very close with the Rosa family and eventually bought Rosa Mosaic from the Rosa family estate in 1981 and continued the legacy that he was instrumental in building. Beginning with the installation of the interior marble work at the Humana tower in the early 1980’s, through completion of the Belterra Casino in the late 1990’s, the Rosa Mosaic reputation for natural stone expertise only grew stronger.
Prior to his retirement in 1999, John also proved to be quite an effective recruiter and persuaded three of his children, Anna, Louis, and John, to follow him into the company. Anna, an accomplished attorney and CPA, left GE Capital in 1994 to join her father and now serves as President. Louis joined the company full time after completing his collegiate football career at Indiana University in 1984 and spearheads the tile contracting operations and training for the company. John joined the company in 1983 as the Project Manager for the Humana Headquarters tower project. He is the Chief Operating Officer for the group of companies, directs the Rosa Mosaic & Tile terrazzo contracting company, and oversees product development.
The combination of Anna’s business acumen and hands-on expertise of Louis and John and has been an undisputed formula for success. The company has received national recognition for their installation performance on projects including the Kentucky International Convention Center, the KFC Yum! Center, and most recently, the Louisville International Airport renovation. Since the siblings began their era in 2000, the company has organically expanded and now includes Bella Stone Designs, Vesta Tile, and Venosa Precast.
While the family is proud of their rich heritage, they also realize the group’s success is a result of the talented team members supporting the mission: “We strive to attain stellar customer satisfaction in our manufacturing, fabrication, and installation of hard surface finishes.”