The iconic label has adorned the finest tables for more than a century, but not everyone knows that there's an entire world behind it: learn more about its history...
A red star and blue writing on a light blue background, a label that’s immediately recognizable to anybody who sees it: a bottle of S.Pellegrino water, an icon for fine dining lovers around the world. But not everyone knows that there’s an entire world behind this label, and a history that has its roots in the past – the 19th Century, to be precise.
It was 1899 when in the small village of San Pellegrino, near the Northern Italian city of Bergamo, water was first bottled to be sold in Italy and abroad, the first bottled water in the world. Since the 13th Century, the region has been known for its thermal waters, and was even visited by the great Leonardo da Vinci in 1509, when he stopped at the source during a long trip through the Lombard valleys. On that occasion, he included the source in map that he himself drew of the Brembo Valley, the original of which is kept today in the Royal Library of Windsor Castle, as the property ofHer Majesty Queen Elisabeth II.
The first label features several styles typical of that era that have been conserved until today. In particular, the characteristic red star that used to be given to top-quality products, a symbol of a premium good. The Liberty-style frame of the label captures the style that was popular at the day, in the midst of the Belle Epoque. The village at the foot of the Alps, not far from Milan, was one of the most popular destinations for members of high society: princes and princesses, politicians and tycoons from across Europe, Russia and the Middle East would arrive to take advantage of the areas pristine nature and the benefits of the waters.
To welcome these esteemed guests, a Grand Hotel was built in the town of San Pellegrino between 1902 and 1907, along with a thermal bath structure and other buildings like the Gran Casinò with its legendary marble, mosaics, stairways, and columns that still today are considered among the most famous examples of European Art Nouveau.
The first official registration of a S.Pellegrino label – in four languages – took place in 1906 and the look of the label was unmodified until recent times. One anecdote: in the ‘90s, the image of the Gran Casinò appeared on the shoulder label with the Orobie Alps in the background, along with the year S.Pellegrino water was founded, 1899. It was an homage to the terroir on the bottle, just as it often happens with the world’s best wines.
Successively, just for special occasions, the S.Pellegrino label sometimes modifies its look with the changing of the times, the spirit of the era, without ever leaving the traits that define it. In 2006, to celebrate the sale of 500 million bottles. And then again in 2009, on the occasion of the company’s 110th Anniversary. In 2010 and 2011, there was a special label for the Cannes Film Festival. And again in 2010, there was a the special initiative Italian Talents that celebrated Italian excellence around the world, involving the most prestigious brands. The first being Missoni, which for the occasion, created a Special Edition Label with its unmistakable motif. 2011 has been the year of Bulgari: for the project, S.Pellegrino sparkles with Bulgari, the label donned an exclusive golden label, embellished with the reproduction of a one-of-a-kind piece from the Bulgari Vintage collection (to view an exclusive video of the bottle, click here).
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