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amaro from Lucca

The chinchona (see china) bark base of Lucca's famous herbal liqueur was invented in 1855 by Dr Pasquale Massagli in the Farmacia Massagli (still there at Piazza San Michele 36).

The amaro came along later, and was given the name Biadina in 1883 by Tista the ropemaker, who also had a shop in Piazza San Michele, where a livestock market was held. Biada in Italian is the feed oats given to horses, and Tista would greet his customers with small glasses of the liqueur with pine nuts in it, saying: "un po’ di biada per il cavallo e un po’ di biadina per te".

To this day, one company produces all 8000 bottles a year, and traditionally not sold outside of Lucca, although the internet has begun to change that even that.



Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

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