Viparo; Metello Morganti’s Umbrian Amaro of Terni

post-4-1141261949Probably one of the most underrated and little known amari is Metello Morganti’s “Viparo”. Birthed in 1912 in the scenic town of Terni in central Umbria, where it is still produced today, it was initially prescribed as medicine for digestive problems though later classified as an alcoholic beverage in 1934.

Morganti "Viparo Tonico" Terni of Umbria, 1.5 Liter Mags

Metello Morganti “Viparo” Amaro Terni of Umbria 1500ml, 20.9% ABV, 1990’s

A trained pharmacist Metello created his elixir with a delicate co-maceration of fruit, herbs, roots, caramelized sugar and flowers in chestnut barrels for in excess of 5 years. Its perhaps this regiment that makes it such a balanced and harmonious expression. The name “Viparo” comes from the Latin “vis-paro”, translating loosely as “generates forces” or “generates strength”.

Perhaps not by coincidence in the 1930’s workers of the Terni steelworks used to go to Metello’s pharmacy to consume his amaro before beginning their shifts. During the second World war there were numerous testimonies of soldiers who were consuming Viparo as well.

Umbria+Italy+17

The Citta de Alta, or “A City on High” of Terni. Many of the ancient smaller towns have this feature that commonly house the oldest parts of the city.

Anecdotes aside, by the middle of the last century production began in bottles and still follows the original recipe to this day. Today, Morganti also produces fruit liqueurs and maraschino, but Paul Morganti, grandson of the founder, remains mainly focused on his family’s bitter.