Sorrento’s Limoncello


The yellow and wrinkled lemon skin is the essential ingredient of its lucky production. This is how limoncello is born, from a sober and genuine recipe, enriched by water, alcohol and spoons of sugar.
 The preparation is easy but meticulous: if executed with accuracy, in a bit less than three months the traditional yellow liquor will be ready to taste as an aperitif or digestive, before or after meals.


The paternity of Limoncello is competed by sorrentini, amalfitani and capresi. In small plots of kilometres, three populations boast of a production of limoncello passed on by various generations. In Capri, someone says that its origins are linked to the events of the family of the businessman Massimo Canale who, in 1988, registered the first trademark “Limoncello”.


Sorrento and Amalfi have some legends and stories on the production of the traditional yellow liquor. On the “costiera”, for example, the story narrates that the big families of Sorrento, at the beginning of 1900, would always ensure that their illustrious guests would get a taste of limoncello, made according to the traditional recipe. In Amalfi, there’s even who believes that the liquor has older origins, almost linked to the lemon cultivation.

Someone believes that limoncello was used in the morning by fishermen and countrymen to fight the cold. Others, instead, believe that the recipe was born inside a monastic convent to delight the monks from prayer to prayer. Maybe, we’ll never know the truth, except for the fact that the traditional yellow liquor has crossed the borders from decades, conquering the markets of half world.


In order to defend itself from the imitations, limoncello has received the protected geographical indication (PGI). The original lemon of Sorrento has to be produced in one of the town council of the territory that goes from Vico Equense to Massa Lubrense and the island of Capri.



The main characteristics of the product are the elliptic and symmetrical shape, the medium-large dimensions, the yellow-citron peel colour. The main ingredient of the production of limoncello is just the peel.

With some healthy ingredients the limoncello can be prepared also at home. It takes around eighty days. In fact, according to the traditional prescription, limoncello must macerate more than two months.  

In the choice of the lemons, those with much thicker peel are preferred. Just the Mediterranean climate of the Sorrento – Amalfi coast guarantees the increase of a lemon with large and perfumed peel.

The first step previews the washing of the fruit in warm water and the brush in order to clean it from eventual residual of insecticides. Alcohol is poured in a water jug, and pieces of aromatic rind gained from the peel are then added. The experts advise the use of good quality alcohol, also to avoid that the liqueur is transformed in ice in the freezer.

With the arrangement of the water jug covered in a dark room or in a sideboard, the first phase of production is concluded. After approximately a month of rest, the preparation continues with the adding of a small pot of water and sugar (boiled and then left to cool down) and other alcohol.

The water jug goes then newly covered and put away in the cabinet for an other abundant month. After forty days approximately, the instilled goes filtered in the bottles, discarding the peels. Then the bottles go in the freezer.

From the unique taste and the aroma form, the liqueur goes therefore served, without the additives and colouring agents. Limoncello is an excellent digestive if served cold.
In Campania limoncello has become a social ritual almost like coffee.