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From Diamante to Potenza: Amaro Lucano, the taste of Basilicata

The story of a liqueur that epitomizes a region, the story of a family that has remained true to its land.

reading time4 minutes

With today’s Stage, Diamante-Potenza, the Giro d’Italia leaves Calabria’s atmosphere and excellence to reach Basilicata, another region that holds gems of unmatched beauty and iconic products such as Amaro Lucano, one of the oldest bitters in Italy, it has existed for a good 128 years, just like the Made in Italy company that produces it, and one of the most appreciated worldwide.

The connection with the homeland

Created in Pisticci (MT), Amaro Lucano is the result of the passion of Cavaliere Pasquale Vena, born in 1871, whose story is truly fascinating and emblematic. Pasquale, very young and unemployed, decides to seek his fortune in America, as was often the case in those days. He buys the ticket but, upon reaching the port of Naples, instead of boarding the liner with his brothers, suddenly changes his mind and stays ashore, convinced that with “hard work and honesty”, he will be able to build his own future without having to leave the land he loves.

A passion for medicinal herbs

He began to work in Naples as a pastry chef and, in the meantime, passionately devoted himself to the study of medicinal herbs. He returned to Pisticci and, with the money he earned, opened Caffé Vena, holding on to his passion for baking while continuing to work with herbs and spices in the backroom. In 1894 he found the formula for Amaro Lucano, (still secret and passed down from generation to generation) a unique liqueur with a bitter-sweet aroma.

1894: Amaro Lucano is created

He went on to establish his liquor company, sporting the number one license. As the image for the label, he chose the “Pacchiana,” a Lucanian peasant woman in a traditional dress next to an eagle in flight clutching in its talons Pasquale’s motto: “Work and Onesty.”

Soon, the bitters were successful outside Basilicata, and Pasquale called back his brothers, who returned from the United States to help him with the new business. Within a few years, Pasquale was awarded a license as a Purveyor of the Royal House and appointed Cavaliere del Lavoro.

What more do you want in life?

Today the Amaro Lucano company, continues to operate from its headquarters in Pisticci Scalo, and its claim What more do you want in life? A Lucano! has become a catchphrase. The company, which employs 70 people and has a turnover in millions of euros, is still owned by the Vena family, headed by Pasquale’s grandson, who bears his grandfather’s name. The liquor is distributed by Coca-Cola HBC in 90 countries.

Recently, Lucano Zero was launched, a non-alcoholic version of the famous drink.

Congratulations to those who bring the flavour of Basilicata to the World.

Discover other Made in Italy outstanding food and wines!