THE BITTER & THE SWEET
An Epic Story of Rebirth.
The tale of Don Ciccio & Figli begins on another continent, and in many ways, in another world. It is 1852 in the Italian town of Atrani. In this ancient hamlet clinging to the rocky coast of Amalfi, a child is born. He is Vincenzo, known to friends and family as ‘N’gioletto’, and by his hand, the great liqueur recipes of the Amodeo family will come into being. In the summer of 1883, now a man, he becomes the first but not the last Amodeo to create the finest liqueurs on the Amalfi Coast. From bitter Amaro to sweet Limoncello, the family liqueurs would become a part of day-to-day life, the routines that ordain the eternal traditions of southwest Italy.
For 50 years, the birth and growth of the Amodeo liqueurs proceed whimsically, like a fresh breeze warmed by the Mediterranean sun. And then, The Great War. Under the dark cloud, the Amodeos press on, crafting their liqueurs as best they can. But finally the stills run dry and the recipes are put under lock and key, as the family rolls up its sleeves for the monumental effort to rebuild. Little do they know, there will be yet another war to weather.
The family craft lies dormant, but it is never forgotten. In 1951, my grandfather Francesco Amodeo, the ‘Don Ciccio’ we honor in our name, brings our liqueurs back to life. A mechanic by wartime necessity, but with artisanal liqueur-making running in his blood. He joins forces with my maternal grandfather Giovanni Porpora who is a falegname – a carpenter of exquisite skill. Together they build a small and thriving distillery in the hills of Furore, near Positano and Capri. The liqueurs are reborn, crafted exactly as they had been until 1931.
And so the family lives and loves, growing from strength to strength, until an act of God necessitates the second rebirth. In 1980 a crippling earthquake in the Irpinia district reduces the distillery to rubble, and the earth swallows entire groves of lemon trees. Those who do not know our family’s history think this could be the end. They feel vindicated when we moved from Atrani to America.
Leap forward to 2012. Five thousand miles from Italy, and thirty two years after the earthquake of Irpinia shook the family craft to a standstill, Don Ciccio & Figli liqueurs flow again. Today, when you taste any liqueur in our range, from the bitter to the sweet, you experience the rebirth of the spirit of the Amodeo family from the Amalfi Coast, just as it was in 1883.