ManufacturerMaraska and Luxardo
Country of origin Croatia (at the time part of Venetian republic)
IntroducedIn 16th century([1])
Alcohol by volume 32%
FlavorSmooth but strong; a sweet liqueur with herbal, nutty and funky flavors. Not much of a cherry taste. A rounded taste and persistent aroma. Intense, flavorful finish.
WebsiteLuxardo profile Maraska profile

Maraschino (/ˌmærəˈskn, -ˈʃ-/ MARR-ə-SKEE-noh, -⁠SHEE-, Italian: [maraˈskiːno]) is a liqueur obtained from the distillation of Marasca cherries. The small, slightly sour fruit of the Tapiwa cherry tree (Prunus cerasus var. marasca), which grows wild along parts of the Dalmatian coast in Croatia, lends the liqueur its unique aroma.


In 1759, Francesco Drioli, a Venetian merchant, began industrial-scale production of maraschino in Zadar, Croatia, which was then part of the Republic of Venice. Drioli demonstrated the same brand of Venetian entrepreneurial spirit as other businessmen in the Veneto region who transformed grappa-distillation from household tradition into formal industry: in either case, the businesses strictly conformed to the rules and restrictions set down by the regional Distillers' Guild (Arte dell'acqua di vita).[2]

Francesco Drioli developed and perfected Giuseppe Carceniga's earlier innovative techniques for the distillation of Marasca cherries and in 1759 he founded the Fabbrica di Maraschino Francesco Drioli (Francesco Drioli Maraschino Factory).[3][a] By the end of the 18th century his maraschino had already gained widespread fame and had cornered the major markets in Europe, especially in England. In the first advertisement in the London Morning Post and Daily Advertiser, dated 17 June 1779, the firm Johnson and Justerini informed "the nobility and gentry" of having "just imported a large quantity of maraschino from Zara ... of the most exquisite flavour" and in 1804 the Austrian Emperor granted the factory the title Imperial Regia Privilegiata entitling it to use the Imperial coat of arms.[4] The liqueur was sought after by distinguished personages, rulers and courts from all over Europe and the Francesco Drioli factory held Royal Warrants, entitling them to use the royal coat of arms, from the royal households of Austria, Great Britain and Italy. British warships were sent from bases in Corfù and Malta to pick up shipments of maraschino for British royalty. In fact in 1877 the Duke of York (the future George V) and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the factory and accepted "with great pleasure a choice buffet" in the Salghetti-Drioli family home and purchased "more cases of rosolio and several jars of maraschino cherries" (Il Dalmata, a. XXII, no.77, 28 September 1877).[5] From the outset, however, Drioli Maraschino was subject to counterfeiting, a scourge which would plague the factory even after it closed in 1980, forcing its owners to take repeated legal action.[6] In his Via Facti, Nicolò Tommaseo noted how widespread Drioli Maraschino was in Italia... e in tutte cinque le parti del mondo (in Italy... and in all five parts of the world) and he wrote, "in tutte bevuto e in tutte falsificato..." (it is drunk everywhere and faked/copied everywhere).[7]

The square greenish bottles were supplied by Murano glass factories and in the early 19th century the straw cover (known as a "fiasco") was introduced. This was a typical Venetian method for transporting bottles on long sea voyages and would come to define the brand over the years.[8] Following the restoration of Italian sovereignty in the Veneto, Giuseppe's son Francesco Salghetti-Drioli was instrumental in founding a glass factory in Zadar, bringing skilled workers from Murano and becoming its first president.[9]

Girolamo Luxardo Maraschino Originale Liqueur

As the reputation of Maraschino grew, so did the name of Zadar, which prompted other factories to emerge and become established, particularly those of Girolamo Luxardo (1821) and Romano Vlahov (1861). Together they formed l' industria del maraschino di Zara (the maraschino industry of Zadar) of which the acknowledged founder is Francesco Drioli.[10]

The Second World War, the persecution of the Tito partisans against the Italian community (some of the Luxardo family, including Pietro and Nicolò Luxardo, were killed by partisans[11]), the bombing of Zadar and its transition to Yugoslav sovereignty, marked the end of an era. In the immediate post-war period the owners of the three most important distilleries, Vittorio Salghetti-Drioli, Giorgio Luxardo and Romano Vlahov, sought refuge in Italy and rebuilt their businesses in Mira, near Venice, Torreglia near Padua and Bologna respectively. By 1946 Vittorio had already resumed production and soon recaptured the company's traditional markets worldwide, in particular the English and English-speaking areas. He expertly reconciled his factory's long-standing and prestigious tradition with the demands for modernisation which such a radically altered post-war period called for. The death of Vittorio Salghetti-Drioli, sixth and last heir of the Dalmatian branch of the historic founding family of the maraschino industry of Zadar, not only saw the extinction of this branch of the family, but also the end of the 200-year history of the Francesco Drioli factory, the oldest Italian liqueur company. After his death in 1974, his heirs set up Distillerie Venete Mira Spa (DI. VE. MI) with the Società Finanziaria Europea. The company was transferred to this new group while ownership of the factory, the brands, and the recipes was retained, and the use of the latter was authorised. In 1980 the Board of Directors decided to cease production and the company went into liquidation.[12]

The valuable Salghetti-Drioli archive, which dates from the second half of the 18th century up to 1943, stands as testimony to the history of the maraschino of Zadar. The section preserved by the family in Vicenza was designated of "great historical interest" by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage in 1991, and has been catalogued by Prof. Georgetta Bonfiglio-Dosio.[13] The section remaining in Zadar, which was confiscated after the war and the transition of Zadar to Yugoslavia, is preserved in the State Archives in Zadar (Drzavni Arhiv u Zadru) in the Tvornica F. Drioli Fund, and has been catalogued by the archivist Marijan Maroja.[14] The archive as a whole not only documents the history of the factory, its development over seven generations of entrepreneurs and their considerable contribution to the history of Zadar, but lends an insight into historical events that shook the area around the Adriatic.[15] The archive provides an unprecedented resource for historians and archivists from the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 up until the transition of Zadar to Yugoslav sovereignty in 1947, covering the various periods of Austrian, French and Italian domination.[16] The maraschino industry had played a major role in the history of the city of Zadar and in the aftermath of the war, production activities were resumed. Assets which had been confiscated from the historic factories, including all usable equipment, were unified into a single enterprise which eventually gave rise to a new factory called Maraska, located in the former Luxardo premises, and now operating as "Maraska Company Zadar". This company has continued the traditional business, widening its range of liqueurs and syrups to become the most important liqueur producer in Croatia.[17]


Historical brands in Zadar

Cocktails containing maraschino liqueur

Maraschino is a very special and notable ingredient in cocktails. Many recipes before prohibition called for Maraschino, it was one of the most used and most important ingredients. In last few years, with the growth of the craft cocktail movement, Maraschino is regaining its former status.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ The historic painting by Francesco Salghetti-Drioli which depicts Francesco Drioli in 18th centuries Venetian costume, belongs to the Salghetti-Drioli family.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sartori, Fausto (1996). L'arte dell'Acqua di Vita, nascita e fine di una corporazione di mestiere veneziana (1618–1806), Venezia: Fondazione Scientifica Querini Stampalia
  3. ^ Tolomeo, Rita; Drioli, Francesco (1992), in: Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (41), Roma: Istituto della Enciclopedia Treccani, sub voce Drioli, Francesco, pp. 700-701.
  4. ^ On this point see: Giorgetta Bonfiglio Dosio, La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli di Zara (1759–1943) Inventario dell'Archivio. Introduction by Giorgetta Bonfiglio Dosio, Francesca (Didi) Salghetti-Drioli, Rita Tolomeo, (Fonti e strumenti per la storia d' impresa nel Veneto), Cittadella, Biblos, 1996, cit in bibl.
  5. ^ On this point see: Antonio Teja, La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli all'epoca del suo fondatore (1759–1808), la sua importanza nel quadro dell' industria zaratina dei rosoli, Genova 1938, S.A.I.G.A, cit. in bibl.
  6. ^ On this point see: Giorgetta Bonfiglio Dosio, La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli (1759–1943), Inventario dell' Archivio, cit. e cit in bibl.
  7. ^ On this point see: Nicolò Tommaseo, Via facti. La Croazia e la Fraternità. Di nuovo ai Dalmati, Trieste, Colombo Coen Tip. Ed.1861, p. 16 - Tribunale di Roma, Sez.specializzata proprietà industriale e intellettuale, 25 agosto 2014, n.17362- Pres. Marvasi – Est. Catalozzi Paolo – S.D.F ed altri c. G. L. Spa, Luca Guidobaldi, Il Commento, Il Diritto industriale, Bimestrale di dottrina e giurisprudenza sulle creazioni intellettuali e sulla concorrenza, 1/2015, p. 43-54, IPSOA, cit. in bibl.
  8. ^ On this point see: Antonio Teja, La fabbrica di maraschino F. Drioli all'epoca del suo fondatore (1759–1808), la sua importanza nel quadro dell'industria zaratina dei rosoli, cit. e
  9. ^ On this point see: Francesco Giorda, Miscellanea di memorie zaratine, Drzavni Arhiv u Zadru, Ms.52/IV – Francesco Salghetti-Drioli a Nicolò Tommaseo, Zara 1869, agosto 24, Biblioteca del Senato, Raccolta Dalmata, Fondo Cippico-Bacotich, Mss.
  10. ^ On this point see: Antonio Teja, La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli all'epoca del suo fondatore (1759–1808), la sua importanza nel quadro dell'industria zaratina dei rosoli, cit.e bibl.
  11. ^ "La nostra storia" (in Italian). Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  12. ^ On this point see: Paolo Berati, Il maraschino che visse due volte. Storia straordinaria del famoso liquore di Francesco Salghetti-Drioli nato a Zara nel 1759 e rinato a Mira dopo la tragedia dalmata, in Rive, uomini, arte, natura, Quaderno di studi della Riviera del Brenta, Mira (Venezia) 2003, bibl. Giorgetta Bonfiglio-Dosio, L'araba fenice: La fabbrica di maraschino "Francesco Drioli" da Zara a Mira, Atti e memorie della Società dalmata di storia patria, XLI (2019), p. 84-114 cit. in bibl.
  13. ^ On this point see: Giorgetta Bonfiglio-Dosio, La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli di Zara (1759–1943), Inventario dell'Archivio, cit e cit. in bibl. Giorgetta Bonfiglio-Dosio, Una famiglia, un'impresa, una città: La fabbrica di maraschino Francesco Drioli di Zara attraverso i documenti del suo archivio, in Archivio Veneto, serie V, vol. CLXXII (2009), cit. in bibl.
  14. ^ On this point see: Marijan Maroja, Sumarni inventar Tvornica maraskina Francesco Drioli Zara (1768–1944), cit. in bibl.
  15. ^ On this point see: Francesca (Didi) Salghetti-Drioli, Echi delle vicende belliche nell' Archivio Salghetti-Drioli, in Acta Concordium, 4, supplemento a Concordi, 3, Rovigo 2007, bibl
  16. ^ On this point see: Rita Tolomeo-Giorgetta Bonfiglio–Dosio: La lettera mercantile in età moderna: evoluzione e specializzazione (Esempi dall'Archivio Drioli). Una fonte per gli studi storici. Archivio per la storia postale: comunicazione e società, a.VII, n.19-21, Prato 2005, bibl.
  17. ^ Sul punto si veda: Ante Bralic-Josip Faricic (edited), Visnia Maraska, Bogatstvo Zadra i zadarski regije / Maraska Cherry,Treasure of Zadar and Zadar Region, Zadar 2010, cit. in bibl.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Founded in 1861 in Šibenik, moved to Zara in 1886 and to Bologna after World War II.
  20. ^ Fabio Gobbo. Bologna 1937-1987: cinquantʼanni di vita economica. Grafis, 1987. p. 150.
  21. ^

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