(by Elisabetta Tosi) When it comes to the Veneto region, the most popular tourist destinations are the usual ones: Venice, Verona, the Dolomites (Cortina d’Ampezzo), Lake Garda and a few others. However, very few people choose to explore an area located around the city of Padua, between Lake Garda and Venice: The Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills). But there is more than one reason to visit this area, rich in biodiversity and history. For wine lovers, one of these reasons can be a visit to the new Luxardo Museum. Luxardo is one of the oldest producers of liqueurs and spirits in Europe, founded in 1821 in Zadar (Dalmatia) by Girolamo Luxardo. It is still owned by the same family. That’s why The Privileged Factory Girolamo Luxardo 1821 in Torreglia (Padua) became part of the exclusive historical group Les Hénokiens, the exclusive club that brings together companies over 100 years old from all over the world. To celebrate this important event, the family has recently opened the Luxardo Enterprise Museum near its headquarters. The building is impressive, but blends in well with its surroundings. The exterior façade is made up of twisted Cor-Ten steel slats, arranged in sequence to create striking plays of light that give the viewer a sense of movement. Inside the museum, the Luxardo family history unfolds engaging and sometimes touching while retracing the milestones of the family’s long history.

The story is told through a digital and video installation that alternates historical and private moments with company facts and the stages in the production of the liqueurs that have made the Luxardo name famous throughout the world. Such as Maraschino, a liqueur made with marasca cherries (a special type of cherry, rather sour and with a soft skin): the very first samples of this liqueur date back to the company’s origins, when Girolamo Luxardo, a Genoese nobleman, developed and improved the old local liqueur called “Rosolio Maraschino”, which the people of Zadar had been drinking since the Middle Ages. At the end of the Second World War, the survivors of the Luxardo family fled to Italy. In Torreglia, near Padua, Giorgio Luxardo and the young fifth generation, Nicolò III, rebuilt the distillery in 1947, opening a new chapter in the history of the company. From the museum, the tour continues inside the distillery, where the traditional copper stills, the ageing vats, the Marasca cherry orchards and the new bottling lines are at work. Today the company produces a wide range of flavours, distillates and infusions, which are exported all over the world. However, its fame remains linked to two products in particular: Maraschino and Sangue Morlacco, both of which have always been considered classic examples of great Italian liqueur making.

Luxardo is not the only reason for pride in the small town of Torreglia. It is also home to the oldest restaurant in the Euganean Hills. The Antica Trattoria Ballotta has more than five centuries of history, having been founded in the mid-500s. Over the centuries it has hosted illustrious men from all walks of life: writers, artists, politicians of the Serenissima Republic and scientists. Men like Galileo Galilei and even Giacomo Casanova, or so they say. People who loved good food and who always found in this tavern the best home cooking in the area.

Antica Trattoria Ballotta in a picture of centuries ago

In more recent times, the journalist Orio Vergani is said to have founded the Italian Culinary Academy at its tables. Time has passed, but the atmosphere of this restaurant hasn’t changed much: it’s always warm, friendly and fragrant, just like the dishes, where the food respects the seasons, tradition and, above all, is prepared with passion and the best ingredients.

Luxardo Museum, via Romana 46 – 35038 Torreglia (PD). Tel: 049.9934090.
Open Wednesday to Friday by appointment, free entry.

Book here: https://www.museoluxardo.it/book-visit/

Antica Trattoria Ballotta, via Romana 57 – 35038 Torreglia (PD). Phone: 049.5212970
Closing day: Tuesday