16 Jun 2017

Campari: the origins of the Italian aperitif

“After all, is it not true that the expectation of pleasure is pleasure itself?”

For years now, the phrase of this advertising spot, taken by the German philosopher Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, reverberates in our heads, coloring our days through all the joking vignettes and memes that have been created on its base.

Campari has always made good advertising, on this there are no doubts.

With the Red Passion saga, which began at the end of the 90s, many prominent personalities from the world of show business overseas lent themselves to the commercials: from Salma Hayek to Eva Mendes, ending up in Benicio Del Toro.

Yet the Campari is all Italian, with 150 years of assets in a recipe that has remained unchanged over time; how was this myth born?


We are in 1860, in a small bar in Novara, called the “Friendship coffee”, ”‹”‹taken over by a certain Gaspare Campari. Here was born and perfected what would become the bitters we know today, at the time called “Rosa Campari“, an alcohol obtained from the infusion in alcohol and water, aromatic herbs, plants and fruit.

When the family of Gaspare moved to Milan, at the end of the same year, the Campari will pass through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, where the Campari bar will be founded, and the very famous Camparino which, from 1915, when it was inaugurated, revolutionizes everything because, from its basement, part of a hydraulic system that comes directly to the counter, able to ensure continuous flow of frozen seltz. The same basement / back room where the owner, tirelessly, works on “elixirs” of alcohol, including the famous Bitters for the use of Hollanda and the Cordial. An absolute novelty!

The bar will soon begin to populate with artists, intellectuals, politicians, becoming fashionable, important, a reference point for the Milanese aperitif.

Forty years later, the first production plant in Sesto San Giovanni was inaugurated and the company began to export abroad.

And the bottle in the shape of a glass upside down, so particular, where does it come from?

Once again, it is necessary to refer to the marketing strategies expertly chosen by the owners of the brand.

In 1926 he was hired Fortunato Depero, avant-garde painter and sculptor, to take care of the Campari advertising campaign. In truth, their relationship must have begun some time ago because in 1925 there is already a sketch of what will become the famous bottle, which at the time was only the image for an advertising poster.

Davide Campari, son and successor of Gaspare at the helm of the company, will adopt it as a bottle of the aperitif, adapting it to the brand completely and personalizing it, printing the inscription on its glass surface.

From there the Campari success has been unstoppable, global and worldwide.

The bitter has been testimonial of historical events, presence in the films of Federico Fellini, company for millions of Italians in the sketches of Carosello.

A recipe that has become a symbol of our country and an ambassador of it in the world!