The herbalist’s, Antica Erboristeria dott. Cappelletti, producer of bitters, liqueurs, and grappas, is not a novelty set up in response to the renewed interest in the preparation of herbs or the recent trend of ‘back to nature and genuine products’, but was in fact founded as far back as 1909. This explains why along with modern steel tanks, the traditional hand presses are still used in production.
This family- run company, proud custodian of secret formulas that were passed down from the old herbalist to the grandchildren, remains, however, receptive to new trends and current market demands.
We can proudly say that there are not many Trentino or indeed Italian companies that can celebrate a century of uninterrupted business in the hands of the same famil.
Outlining the story of this long period means also reflecting on the history of our territory and its evolution that occurred through the forging of a cultural and human heritage which in the case of our business is represented by three key people: Giuseppe Cappelletti, the founder, and Ferrante and Gianpaolo Cappelletti, who further developed the company and adapted it to the changes over time.
Born in Ciago di Vezzano, a small village situated on the scope of Mount Gazza, a short distance from Trento, in 1880, Giuseppe Cappelletti as a boy began to collect and sell the curative herbs growing on his mountains, learning along the way the secrets and traditions of the older, wiser herbalists. In 1909, he and his brothers founded a company, located in Oss Mazzurana, Trento, “to sell wholesale and retail natural herbal remedies”. The company moved to its historical premises in Piazza Fiera in the 20s. He was a herbalist and apothecary of great creativity and ability. After the First World War he started work on his great idea, to bring the benefits of the curative herbs to those who didn’t want to endure long and difficult therapy treatments. So by cleverly mixing the herbs and their extracts with decoctions and infusions he was able create Elisir Novasalus which today is still produced by applying the same principles, respecting the traditional production and rest times.
On his death his nephew Ferrante (his brother’s son) and children Gianpaolo, Sandra and Corrado took over the running of the company. A qualified herbalist and ardent proponent of the cultivation of medicinal herbs in the mountains, he engaged in a constant dissemination and education on these topics, contributing advice and formulas to simple-to-understand publications.
The product range was increased and so along with bitters also grappas, sweet liqueurs and Brulè Bacchus were produced.
The business grew and in 1969 the production department was moved to the plant in Ravina, near Trento. Years passed by and Ferrante Cappelletti retired, appointing his three children to run the company.
These were the boo
m years: Novasalus T-shirts, hats and classroom rulers could be seen everywhere, from sport arenas to public offices. Cappelletti was synonmous with Novasalus and
Liqueurs production was supported by a successful new line of natural cosmetics products. The company’s range of operations multiplied and so the heirs divided up their responsibilities.
Gianpaolo Cappelletti ran the liqueurs sector – the sole business unit still active today. A man of great culture, eclectic and with an immense love of life and his work, he had long been the public face of the company, investing in the community, sports and politics. Blessed with a great intuition and acumen, he reinvigorated production with new ideas and products. When the plant in Ravina became too small, Gianpaolo, regardless of his health problems, started the building of a new facility in Aldeno, whose completion he did not survive to see.
He died in September 2001. In spite of the building problems, the bureaucratic obstacles and personal difficulties, thanks to the commitment and cooperation of many people and faithful customers, the company relaunched with same dedication and production quality which have always stood the company apart over the years.
The shop in Piazza Fiera, Trento, is entrusted to the unfailingly expert hands of Emanuela and Alberto. Currently, the company is run by Gianpaolo’s children – Luigi and Maddalena –the fourth generation, custodian of the ancient formulas and immensely proud of their name.
The 105-year anniversary of Antica Erboristeria dott.Cappelletti is part of Trentino history. A story rooted in great figures of the past and which is still evolving with a youthful spirit, looking to the future with serenity to the future.