Luigi Manzi, the Garibaldian of Ischia who created the sambuca

by Federico D'Addato

After talking about the figure of the aquavitaro, the father of the Neapolitan barman, there was also talk of some famous people related to this world, including Luigi Manzi, the inventor of the sambuca.

Luigi Manzi, the Garibaldian who created the sambuca

Luigi Manzi he was an entrepreneur Ischia born in 1809, who grew up due to his sympathies republicans, especially aimed at Garibaldi it's at Mazzini, decided to move his business to Civitavecchia, Since Naples it went through the period of the monarchy Bourbon.

Luigi Manzi, il garibaldino di Ischia che creò la sambuca
Luigi Manzi, the entrepreneur from Ischia who invented the sambuca

It was not unusual, in fact, that the leader himself spent many of his days in Ischia, to taste his friend's drink and to visit him, it is said that "the hero of the Two Worlds"He was given as a gift a whole crate.

Even today a Casamicciola, in the island of origin of the distiller, there are the "Terme Manzi“, Which were owned by the father.

Due to his political idea on more than one occasion he supplied the army of the One thousand, and men who fought for his own republican ideals, preferring instead of money the brochures they produced and accompanied the soldiers and a part of the “pre-Italian” public opinion, falling in love with the idea of a united Italy.

It is also known as independently subsidized the Royal Savoy Army and the Garibaldi mission.

Luigi Manzi died in the his homeland in 1873.

The origin of the name "sambuca"

As for the origin of the name of the liqueur, however, there are several theories, one of these concerns the land that gave birth to Manzi.

Ischia in fact, and its commoners, based their economy mainly on the agricultural department and to quench the thirst of the peasants from the exhausting efforts during their breaks, some children were in charge of bringing them water. These young people were defined "sambuchelli“.

Another version instead concerns the elderberry, or the plant from which the extract of the drink is obtained, another still covers a sector "esoteric“.

Thanks to his ingenuity, in fact, Luigi Manzi devised a method to facilitate transport by limiting the payment of taxes due to the goods he would have to transport.

Together with his collaborators he then excavated one the pit through which the bottles, very similar to those of Molinari today, with a label and transparent glass, thus celebrating that "San Buco"Who had done so much good in his business.

The advent of Angelo Molinari

Sambuca was therefore born in the distillery of the Ischia entrepreneur to delight the diners after the coffee, in 1851, or for "correct it”And was produced using green anise.

However, today we identify the drink with the name of Molinari, which instead made this liqueur "international“.

Luigi Manzi, il garibaldino di Ischia che creò la sambuca
Angelo Molinari produced sambuca in Civitavecchia, imitating Luigi Manzi, but marketed it abroad

Angel Molinari, however, he was an Italian entrepreneur during the two decades and the colonial period in Africa, so much so that during the period of his activity he decides to locate the production and sale in Ethiopia, to Addis-Ababa.

When he returned to his homeland, in 1936, he decided to live in a place near his city of origin, in order not to be separated from it, but not to be forced by the turbulence of the capital, Rome, and came to Civitavecchia.

Here the thriving business of Luigi Manzi, born in 1851, continued successfully, it was then that Molinari chose to take the same path as the entrepreneur from Ischia.

He began to study and try, to produce a similar liqueur, but diversifying it, not being able to compete with a more structured activity in the area, and came to the conclusion that he wanted to use another base: the anise starry“.

While Manzi's product remained anchored to a local or national tradition, Molinari decided to export it abroad after the end of the war in 1945.

The difference about the reputation that still exists between the two "colleagues"In fact, it can be as banal as it is fundamental for understanding the two different contexts in which they lived and built their entrepreneurial and personal history.

If on one hand, Luigi Manzi it was born in a period of profound changes regarding not only contexts international, but primarily locals, as indeed the unification of Italy, the revolutionary movements and all related scenarios, on the other hand, Angelo Molinari has been able to build its identity "corporate", In a period in which Italian products were better protected and, in the end, when he had the intuition of the expansion of his brand, which has become universally recognized, the war era over, the mood pointed towards the reconstruction from the rubble in which the country had ended and the period better known as the began Sweet life in his city: Rome.


Sambuca Manzi, the progenitor

The "fly" ended up in the sambuca one night in the Dolce Vita, an article in Il Corriere della Sera

Molinari Company History Archived March 21, 2008 in the Internet Archive., From the official site

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