The history of limoncello bends through a series of anecdotes and legends. Its paternity is competed by sorrentini, amalfitani and capresi. In small plots of kilometres, three populations boast of a production of limoncello passed on by various generations. In Capri, someone says that its origins are linked to the events of the family of the businessman Massimo Canale who, in 1988, registered the first trademark “Limoncello”.
The liquor was born at the beginning of 1900, in a small boarding house of the island Azzurra, where the lady Maria Antonia Farace took care of a rigorous garden of lemons and oranges. The nephew, during the post-war period, opened a bar near Alex Munte’s villa. The speciality of that bar was the lemon liquor made with nonna’s old recipe. In 1988, the son Massimo Canale started a small handmade production of limoncello, registering the trademark. But really, Sorrento and Amalfi have some legends and stories on the production of the traditional yellow liquor. On the coastal, for example, the story narrates that the big families of Sorrento, at the beginning of 1900, would always ensure that their illustrious guests would get a taste of limoncello, made according to the traditional recipe. In Amalfi, there’s even who believes that the liquor has older origins, almost linked to the lemon cultivation. However, as it frequently happens in these circumstances, the truth is vague and the hypothesis are many and interesting. Someone believes that limoncello was used in the morning by fishermen and countrymen to fight the cold, since the invasion periods. Others, instead, believe that the recipe was born inside a monastic convent to delight the monks from prayer to prayer. Maybe, we’ll never know the truth, except for the fact that the traditional yellow liquor has crossed the borders from decades, conquering the markets of half world. Bottles of limoncello are present on the shelves of overseas’ markets, and new important commercial sceneries are developing on the Asian markets.
So, limoncello, could really become a worldwide product like Bitter or Amaretto. And in order to defend itself from the imitations, it is run also to the shelters, reserving to the production of the characteristic “oval” sorrentino the denomination of geographic Indication protect (IGP).
The original lemon of Sorrento has to be produced in one of the town council of the territory that goes from Vico Equense to Massa Lubrense and the island of Capri.