Poli Museo della Grappa

Poli Grappa Museum

Poli Distillerie

Poli Distillerie


"Grappa & Alchemy"

The following collection of essays aims to contribute a better knowledge of the history of distillation in Italy, and especially two of its products, brandy and Grappa, from the beginnings to the first decades of the seventeenth century, when they were no longer a sophisticated medicine for the chosen few but were about to become a beverage for the many. Great efforts were made to open new chapters in this field of studies that usually limits itself to offer more or less the usual well known data.  Just how successful this operation may have been is for the reader to decide, but first I would like to briefly give the book's plan.  After a general introduction by Georges Comet, recalling a few milestones in the evolution of this technique, both in Italy and elsewhere, I would like to mention two essays that explore more in depth the period of greatest expansion of this technique, from the early fourteenth century to the late sixteenth century. The two essays, while addressing roughly the same chronological period, deal however with two fundamentally different types of documentation.  In the first one Giuseppe Palmero explores the vast and still little studied set of documents known under the slightly mysterious name of "book of secrets", with recipes referring to a more or less practical knowledge. Thanks to this vast literature, flourished especially between the 15th and 16th century, we can see from close quarters how the art of distillation was performed at that time in order to produce the great "Variety of recipes, medical and otherwise, with which to treat diseases and make daily life easier and more pleasant". The second essay, by Lucia Sandri and myself, examines the distillation and production of Grappa in a distinctively more educated environment, looking more in detail at the few but interesting surviving treatises that document the first steps of spirit distillation in Italy from the late 13th century to the mid 15th century. The essay ends with a quick roundup of the 16th century, when this art was no longer a mystery only accessible to the few. The last essay in the volume, edited by Professor Bergonzin, deals with aqua vitae and the emergence of Grappa in the Modena area during the early decades of the 17th century, to then follow the evolution and history of these products.[...]

Allen J. Grieco



  • Title:
    • Grappa & alchimia
  • Author:
    • Vari Autori
  • Year:
    • 1999