From the most famous to the most local sources, for a tour of Italy
Italy is the first country in Europe for the number of sources of mineral water, for the quality and mineral diversity of the springs. The particular morphology of the Belpaese makes it an area particularly rich in springs and springs. Suffice it to say that there are 140 bottling companies.
According to recent data, over 300 brands of mineral waters are marketed in Italy. Each with its own history, with typical organoleptic characteristics and with different nutritional and health properties and virtues.
Let’s find out which are the ten best known brands of water present in the national territory and the more local and less known ones to the majority of Italians.
Let’s start with the most famous:
• Acqua Panna
A historic water whose springs are located on the hills rich in vegetation in Tuscany at 900 meters above sea level, in the protected area of Mugello between Scarperia and Barberino del Mugello, Acqua Panna owes its name to its territory of origin. During the Renaissance, in fact, the “territory of Panna” was part of the hunting reserve of the de ‘Medici family (from 1564), who used to spend their holidays in these territories, drinking the water that flowed naturally from the springs present in the reserve.
This water that flows at 2000 meters in the valleys overlooking Vinadio in the Maritime Alps, in the province of Cuneo, has a decidedly recent history, but an emblem of all-Italian entrepreneurship. The company that owns the brand, Fonti di Vinadio Spa, was founded in 1996 by the Bertone family and in a few years has managed to become a market leader.
• San Benedetto
Recognized this year as a historical brand of national interest, San Benedetto mineral water has 65 years of history. In fact, it was in 1956 that the first San Benedetto Group plant was established for the bottling of the mineral waters of Scorzé, Fonte San Benedetto and Fonte Guizza. in the province of Venice, in the heart of the Sile Park. The company takes its name from the source of the same name, known since the times of the Venetian Republic as the “Ancient Source of Health” and sought after by Venetian families precisely for its healing qualities.
Ferrarelle water originates from the slopes of the extinct volcano of Roccamonfina, in the province of Caserta, and comes out with an inimitable geyser of cold water from the Riardo springs park: Ferrarelle in fact explodes on the surface after a long 15 km underground journey. The sources of Riardo have been talked about since the times of the Roman Empire, from Vitruvius to Pliny the Elder. But it was in 1893 that the birth of Ferrarelle water was sanctioned, when the canalization system was built to start marketing.
• Filette water
Acqua Filette flows from the source of Guarcino at 900 meters above sea level, in the green and unspoiled setting of the mountains of the Lazio Apennines. The absence of industries, vehicular traffic, fertilized fields and pastures in Guarcino makes Filette one of the purest waters in the world. The first historical information on the existence of the spring dates back to 400 BC. and indicate that it was already known by the Romans who dedicated it to Venus as a symbol of the link between the goddess and the vital element. Instead, they date back to 30 BC. the first written testimonies. Acqua Filette was bottled for the first time in 1894.
Levissima is a brand with over 80 years of history. Its source is located in the heart of the Central Alps, in a protected area on the western edge of the Stelvio Natural Park, in the Valtellina area of the ancient county of Bormio. Initially known almost exclusively by the inhabitants of Cepina, in the Alta Valtellina, the Levissima water owes its name to the Latin adjective levis, which means “light”.
• Lete water
The Lete Brand is a historic brand that made its first appearance on the markets in 1893 when the Lete Company began to bottle mineral water. Its source is located on the Campanian front of the Matese, in Letino (in the province of Caserta), near the border with Molise. As early as the nineteenth century, the water, collected from the source in terracotta amphorae, was transported on wooden wagons across a vast territory. Between the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth century, Lete water obtained its first international recognition and soon, from artisanal production, it passed to the first bottling plants.
Sangemini mineral water has always been known as the water of health and well-being. Its sources are located on the Martani Mountains in the Umbrian Apennine complex, they flow from there, until reaching its basin located in one of the most beautiful valleys of central Umbria. Its history begins in the early nineteenth century when the two mineral springs of “Santo Gemini” attracted the attention of local administrators who intended to transform the town into a spa, exploiting the therapeutic properties of water. The first bottling plant was inaugurated in 1889.
S.Pellegrino water gushes from sources located on the slopes of the Alps. Known since the 13th century, its springs were appreciated and visited by famous people who contributed to spreading its fame.
The water of the S.Pellegrino springs reached its maximum popularity at the end of the 19th century and in 1899 the Society for the bottling of the San Pellegrino water was founded which began to be exported all over the world and spread to a vast and cosmopolitan clientele. . For 120 years, S.Pellegrino has become an international icon of taste and elegance.
• Olive grove
Acqua Uliveto gushes from the homonymous spring, inside the Uliveto Park located near Vicopisano in the province of Pisa. It is a water known for its health properties since 1835, thanks to Doctor Giuli who indicated its beneficial effects in one of his books. In 1898 the first clinical study was drawn up and published which scientifically supported its health properties. In fact, as early as the 19th century, people used to come to Uliveto to “pass the waters”, that is, for baths and mineral water treatments. The first bottling plant dates back to 1910 and became a real industrial structure with a production of bottles so large that it could be exported throughout Europe.
If the top ten are known by the vast majority, the situation changes if you look for ten, small local companies and, consequently, less known.
Among these, some of the most interesting are:
• Calizzano mineral water
Located in the Ligurian hinterland, this plant, founded in 1961, bottles the water from the Fonte delle Anime and Fonte Bauda at 1081 meters above sea level. After several years of research, the adjuvant effect of this water in the treatment of kidney stones was highlighted, as well as being recommended for infants.
• Stella Alpina mineral water
A Bergamo-based company, since 1956 it has been bottling water from the Stella Alpina spring, located 900 meters above sea level, from which it takes its name. It is particularly recommended for those who have to follow low sodium diets.
• Roana mineral water
The bottling center is located in the heart of the Sibillini Mountains and collects water from the Panico del Monte Bove at 1300 meters above sea level. Thanks to a system of stainless steel pipes, the water reaches the bottle without coming into contact with oxygen.
• Pradis water
The company, located in the city of the same name in the Carnic Prealps, bottles the water from the Monte Dagn spring, 650 meters above sea level. The water is recommended for pregnant women and for those suffering from osteoporosis and hypertension.
The company is located in a natural valley nestled in the mountains, more precisely in Cereglio, in the province of Bologna. Thanks to the natural contact with the ground, this water is rich in minerals and its diuretic activity has been certified through studies.
• Egeria, the Holy Water of Rome
The name of this water is linked to the cult of the nymph Egeria, known to the Romans as early as 753 BC. for the apparent healing qualities. The spring is located in the heart of the Roman countryside, set inside a cave where the cult of the nymph was once celebrated. In the early 1950s, the distribution of this water began, up to the present where the company has extensively modernized itself to meet market requirements.
• Source Plose
Company founded in 1960, draws water from the source located higher among those examined, at 1870 meters above sea level. The source, which flows from Mount Plose, is located within the area declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
• Fonte Santafiora
A water that recalls the history of the Italian cultural heritage, this is due to the fact that it is located among the green hills of the Valdichiana. These lands, as well as Monte Savino, are linked in particular to the De Medici family.
The company draws water from one of the most evocative springs, located at 1393 meters above sea level, directly in the Stelvio National Park. This makes it one of the purest waters among those in circulation.
As can be deduced from the name, this plant, the only one in the region, is located in Molise. The company was founded in 1896 and is currently one of the longest-lived in the spring water bottling sector. In recent years, production within the plant has been increasing significantly and continues its climb to become one of the best known waters.
• Pian della Mussa
Other companies that bottles pure water, with an eye to environmental sustainability. The source from here draw is located at 1432 meters above sea level, initially, it was used to supply water to neighbouring countries.
Nowadays the presence of water in our homes seems to be taken for granted, it is always important to remember how precious this asset is. Having said that, it is necessary to say that not all waters are the same. Among the more than 300 brands of water present on the national territory, there is plenty of choice and each water has its own characterizing element. The fact remains that the less known waters, and above all that invest less funds in marketing operations, are more difficult to find, but with a short search it is easy to find the water that best suits your needs, whether they are organoleptic or ethical or for therapeutic purposes.
Authors: Paola Chiasserini and Nicola Zanotto