At the fall of the Venetian republic in 1797, Zara was designated the capital of the Kingdom of Dalmatia, under Austrian sovereignity. A citizen from Genova, Girolamo Luxardo, was sent to Zara as consular representative of the Kingdom of Sardinia; he moved there with his family in 1817. His wife Maria Canevari was especially interested in perfecting a "rosolio maraschino", a liqueur produced in Dalmatia since medieval times and often made in convents. Her husband Girolamo founded a distillery in 1821 to produce Maraschino.
After 8 years of research and perfecting the product he obtained an exclusive "privilege" from the Emperor of Austria: this was a valuable and cherished acknowledgment of the superior quality of the Luxardo liqueur, and today the firm continues to be proud to bear the denomination of: "PRIVILEGIATA FABBRICA MARASCHINO EXCELSIOR"
In 1913 the 3rd generation Michelangelo Luxardo and Nicolo I Luxardo, built an extremely modern distillery, one of the largest in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Even today people coming into Zara cannot help noticing the imposing structure on the harbour edge, which housed the offices and the living apartments of the Luxardo family.
At the end of the First World War Zara was incorporated into the Kingdom of Italy as 85% of its population were Italians. The Luxardo company soon became the most important distillery in the country. The beginning of the Second World War in 1940 severely hampered industrial activity. After indiscriminate and repeated Anglo-American bombings in 1943-44, the distillery was almost completely destroyed, as was the city.
At the end of 1944 the German troops withdrew from Dalmatia and then followed the occupation by Tito's communist partisans. The great majority of the surviving Italian population fled into exile, in Italy and elsewhere (Australia, Canada, The Americas etc.), but many - too many - were killed: among them Piero Luxardo and Nicolò with his wife Bianca, forcibly drowned by the invaders. It appeared then, that after more than a century of activity, the Luxardo firm was destined to disappear.
In 1947 Giorgio Luxardo had the courage and vision to rebuild the distillery in the Veneto region, our present plant at Torreglia (Padova), together with the young fifth generation Nicolò.
And so a new chapter in the ongoing family history was opened.
The sixth generation of the family is today active in the company, manufacturing Maraschino which made their name known world wide, as well as a full line of classic Italian liqueurs such as Sambuca, Amaretto, Cherry Liqueur Morlacco, Grappa, Limoncello, Passione Nera. A second line includes a gourmet division with liqueur concentrates for bakers and ice cream manufacturers fruit syrups, the Original Maraschino Cherries and a selection of premium jams.
The family members (from left):
- Giorgio Luxardo (procurement and EDP manager)
- Piero Luxardo (president and sales director
for the domestic market)
- Franco Luxardo (export director)
- Guido Luxardo (general manager)
- Matteo Luxardo (export manager)
- Filippo Luxardo (marketing Italy)