End of meal par excellence, the limoncello it is a liqueur that has crossed national borders and now boasts admirers all over the world. The ingredients are few and simple: we are in fact talking about a liqueur that is obtained frominfusion of lemon peels in alcohol, to which one is added syrup prepared with water and sugar. So easy to make that it is also the most replicated liqueur at home.
It goes without saying that the difference between one product and another is made by the quality of the raw materials: real limoncello is made with lemons coming exclusively from the Sorrento Peninsula and surrounding areas. More precisely, with the “Sorrento girlie”, said oval Sorrento PGI lemon.
Limoncello: origins between history and legends
We have no information on the origins of the drink uncertain news: one of the most accredited features the Maria Antonietta Farace from Capri, owner of a hotel on the island in the early twentieth century. The woman used to offer customers lemon liqueur prepared at home with citrus fruits from her garden according to her grandmother's recipe. The tasty digestive was also much appreciated by Axel Munthe and by his intellectual friends visiting the island. Subsequently, it was Mrs. Farace's heirs who had the intuition and started a small production of limoncello, following the family recipe.
Another legend has it that it was even Zeus to reveal the secret recipe of this precious infusion to an inhabitant of the Land of the Sirens.
However, there are those who maintain that limoncello was already known in Roman times, as evidenced by some frescoes found in Pompeii, while there are those who speak of farmers and fishermen who drank limoncello in the morning to warm up, yes at the time of the Saracen incursions, before the year 1000.
The Arab derivation of the drink is not entirely unfounded, since the first to cultivate lemons were the people coming from the East and from the Arab countries.
For others, the limoncello recipe was born within a cmonastic convent around 1700, to delight the friars between one prayer and another. There are also those who say that the Carthusian monks learned the recipe for this delicious potion from mermaids, before driving them away from their land.
In short, the history of limoncello is steeped in legends and mystery, what is certain is that in the early twentieth century there was no Sorrento family that did not offer its illustrious guests a glass of lemon liqueur.
It is certainly not up to us to decide whether limoncello was born in Amalfi, Capri or Sorrento and to whom the origin of the name is owed. What we are interested in underlining is that, to be considered True limoncello, it is essential that it is prepared exclusively with the oval Sorrento PGI lemon (cultivated in the Sorrento peninsula, in the municipalities of Massa Lubrense, Meta, Piano di Sorrento, Sant'Agnello, Sorrento, Vico Equense, and on the island of Capri).