It was at the end of the 1950s that the golden age of bitters and liqueurs began in Italy which, from home-made drinks, discovered the joys of advertising and became a pop phenomenon. Now that their rediscovery is back in fashion, let's get to know the story of the legendary "Niente" liqueur.
Bonaventura Maschio was born in 1903, the year in which Vittorio Emanuele III sat in the kingdom of Italy, 40% of Italians were still farmers, and our country was preparing for the beginning of its industrial revolution thanks to many technological achievements, from flying to the radio.
The family of the young Venetian entrepreneur had for years been dedicated to the artisanal distillation of grappa and, from the hometown of Cismon del Grappa, had moved to the territory of Gaiarine, in the province of Treviso where the company is still today, an area recently reclaimed which had therefore attracted the establishment of many new businesses.
… Live in this world as if it were your father’s house, believe in wheat, the sea, the earth but above all man.
(Nazim Hikmet, Poems of love, 1955)
It is here, thanks to the great ferment in the world of viticulture, that Bonaventura begins to experiment with new techniques and recipes that he puts into practice both in the distillery and in the family liqueur factory. He was responsible for the ingenious invention of the “Niente” liqueur (Niente means nothing in Italian) designed for his friend the innkeeper Redento Toffoli from Pordenone who, to the fateful question “would you like something?”, even to those who answered negatively, could thus offer a nice glass of liqueur and a smile.
A brilliant idea and label at the time, celebrated by lovers of vintage typography and old-fashioned advertising, which today would no longer be allowed by the modern and more stringent code that regulates alcoholic beverages.
A visit to the company museum of Bonaventura Maschio, located at the production site of Gaiarine, in addition to the distillation room with its steam stills and the legendary itinerant distillation wagon, will also introduce you to many other “forgotten” bitters and liqueurs that make part of our history.
From Amaro Bonaventura with its original floral label to Cioccolato all’Uovo with its beautiful rounded bottle, from Elixir Kina inspired by Chinese ideograms to Punch with Rhum with a tropical mood.
A timeless elegance that Bonaventura Maschio, a family-run company still today in its fifth generation with Anna and Andrea Maschio, proposes in its new lines such as Tiramisù di Casa and Amari Pratum Bio, Herbs and Flowers and Herbs and Spices continuing, amidst international awards and a strong drive for innovation, the path traced by its founder.
You can book a free visit to the distillery and to the company museum by writing to Comunicazione@primeuve.com or by calling +39 0434 756603 from Monday to Friday, 9.00 / 13.00 – 14.00 / 17.00.