When the city was thriving and looking skywards, still celebrating the international success of the Universal Exposition, young businessman Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli opened his herbal pharmacy, specialised in the production of liqueurs and syrups.
This was the beginning of an entrepreneurial adventure that spanned the history of the twentieth century and is still going strong today.
The First Successes
Passion, creativity and knowledge o f the tradition and culture of herbs were the values that guided Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli as he tirelessly sought new products that were functional but also good, for the palate and for the health.
The close attention he dedicated to the taste of his products, combined with the evolution of consumer habits in that period led the founder to conceive new products, including new, rather different ones, such as bitter and vermouth (1920).
This phase of thriving creativity gave rise to a series of special recipes that extended his original product portfolio of medicinal herbs. And it was then, in 1926, that the famous Bonomelli Chamomile tea was created.
The quest for the best raw materials
Driven by his passion and by his avid curiosity, Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli travelled the length and breadth of Italy to learn about the popular traditions associated with the use of herbs.
In northern Apulia he happened upon the “terrazzani”, local people who earned a living by gathering wild herbs and supplying them to the city’s markets.
Fascinated by the tradition and natural wealth of the territory, in 1939, he decided to set up a plant near Foggia for processing the raw materials, specialising in chamomile.
Today, the plant in Foggia is still one of the most advanced centres in Italy in terms of seed selection, cultivation and drying of chamomile flowers.
Assigning value to people and territories
The characteristic species of chamomile found in the area is a wild, rustic and hardy variety, which grows in lush areas of the Tavoliere delle Puglie, and features strong scents and the many virtues traditionally attributed to the plant.
By recognising the value of the natural characteristics of these places, Luigi Amedeo Bonomelli created a true production chain, in time forging exclusive contracts with the local farmers who tended to the crops.
He then stepped up the R&D side of the business, performing in-depth research with a view to improving the specific qualities of the product and creating an exemplary chain designed to make the most of the local excellences.
A new beginning
During the Second World War, in August 1943, the company’s headquarters and workshop in Milan were practically destroyed. Bonomelli therefore decided to move the business to Dolzago, near Lecco, where he built a state-of-the-art packing plant, helping to boost the economic and social development of the area.
The efficient production, now transferred from Milan to Dolzago, combined with the continuous supply of raw materials from Foggia, marked the birth of a production complex with a strong social vocation, laying the foundations of the close relationship between the company and the territory that would last into the future.
Each product to its own time
In the second Post-War period, the recovery of the consumer trade would give new impetus to the development of innovative products. The Bonomelli product portfolio was extended, with the addition of new products that would leave their mark on the culture and dietary habits of Italians.
In 1950 Camomilla Espresso was launched, the first instant chamomile tea for bars, ideal for out-of-home consumption.
The 1970s witnessed the launch of Filtrofiore, the chamomile tea made with all the parts
of the flower, destined to become the iconic flagship product of Bonomelli. During the next decade, the company introduced the Sifted and Soluble Chamomile teas.
In the 1990s, Bonomelli rediscovered its vocation as a herbalist, launching its Herbal and Infused Tea lines. In 2016/17, Chamomile and the Herbal Tea lines became available in the innovative capsule format.