10 Thirst-Quenching Facts about San Pellegrino
By Suzanne Raga
San Pellegrino’s green, glass bottle has become synonymous with high quality sparkling water. Whether you drink it as a fancy, fizzy alternative to still water or mix it with lemon or lime juice, S.Pellegrino can jazz up (and possibly add health benefits to) any drink. If you’re thirsty for knowledge about the sparkling water brand, read on for 10 hydrating facts about Pellegrino.
1. THE WATER IS NATURALLY FILTERED FOR THREE DECADES BY THE ITALIAN ALPS.
San Pellegrino (which is also styled S.Pellegrino) comes from natural springs in San Pellegrino Terme, which is in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy. Snow and rain gradually flow from the top of Italy’s Dolomite Mountains down to the foothills of the mountains. The water travels for 30 years through the sedimentary rock of the Italian Alps, picking up minerals such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and sodium.
2. LEONARDO DA VINCI REPORTEDLY TASTED THE SPRING WATER.
According to legend, Leonardo da Vinci traveled from Milan in 1509 to taste the water and test its purported healing powers. Although it’s unclear if da Vinci’s connection to Pellegrino is true or apocryphal, the natural spring water’s properties as a liquid salve reportedly attracted visitors as early as the 1100s.
3. IT WAS FIRST BOTTLED IN 1899.
Today, every Pellegrino bottle has a label that says "1899," indicating the first year it was bottled. Because of the reported healing powers of the water, spas opened around the spring, and 35,343 bottles were produced and sold between 1899 and 1900. By 1905, a newly built plant allowed 50,000 bottles to be produced per day.
4. A SPA, HOTEL, AND CASINO WERE BUILT NEAR THE SPRING.
Terry Clinton via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
The Palazzos, a prominent Italian family, built a spa near the San Pellegrino Terme spring. Opened in 1901, the San Pellegrino Bath Facilities and The Refreshment Hall featured the supposedly healing mineral water from the spring and attracted wealthy European tourists. Besides the spa, the ornate, Art Nouveau-style Grand Hotel was commissioned in 1902 and inaugurated in 1906. The hotel housed 250 rooms and featured an adjacent San Pellegrino Casino. By 1928, the spa included medical facilities [PDF] such as an x-ray room and laboratory.
5. THE CARBONATION PRESERVES THE MINERALS.
In the early 1900s, Pellegrino didn’t contain carbon dioxide bubbles. The company added carbonation to preserve the minerals when the bottle was shipped. The added CO2 also made the taste of the water a bit sweeter and crisper than flat water, and was so popular with customers that it's been a staple ever since.
6. ARANCIATA, PELLEGRINO’S FRUIT FLAVORED WATER, WAS INTRODUCED IN 1932.
highboom via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Back in 1932 in Milan, Pellegrino’s owner, a chemist named Ezio Granelli, began selling carbonated mineral water with a splash of orange juice and sugar. Called Aranciata, the line of sparkling fruit drinks has expanded to include other flavors such as lemon (Limonata), blood orange (Aranciata Rossa), grapefruit (Pompelmo), and prickly pear and orange (Ficodindia e Arancia). Starting in 1976, Pellegrino’s sparkling fruit drinks became available in their now familiar aluminum cans.
7. LIMITED EDITION BOTTLES HAVE FEATURED JEWELRY COMPANIES, FASHION HOUSES, AND AN OPERA SINGER.
LexnGer via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
Every Pellegrino bottle has a shoulder label that depicts the San Pellegrino Casino and the Alps. But Pellegrino has changed the main label, with its recognizable red star, over the years. In 2011, to celebrate Bulgari’s 125th anniversary, a limited edition bottle featured a gold label with an image of a necklace made of Bulgari jewels on it. Other special edition bottles have promoted the Expo Milano 2015, Vogue Italia, opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, and fashion house Missoni.
8. BIOHACKERS DRINK IT FOR THE SULFATES.
Some biohackers drink Pellegrino because it’s pure (no chemicals) and contains 459 milligrams of sulfates per liter. Sulfates reportedly help our muscles, joints, and nervous system perform optimally. Because hard water (water that has a high mineral content) is more likely than soft water to contain sulfur, some people swear that drinking Pellegrino (a hard water) can significantly improve our bodies’ performance.
9. GIANT FLORAL ART WAS MADE TO CELEBRATE ARANCIATA’S NEW FLAVORS.
To celebrate the launch of Pomegranate and Orange (Melograno e Arancia) and Clementine (Clementina) fruit drinks, Pellegrino constructed giant cans of the fruit soda made of flowers. In late April 2014, the flower cans were in an installation at Eataly, a gourmet Italian food store in New York City. The idea was that the lavish installation would gradually "blossom" and reveal the two new fruity flavors.
10. PELLEGRINO IS FINDING THE WORLD’S BEST YOUNG CHEFS.
Last year, the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 competition crowned Irish chef Mark Moriarty as the world’s best young culinary talent. Moriarty was chosen out of more than 3500 chefs under 30 years old from 191 countries. Together with ALMA (an international school for Italian cuisine) and Vogue Italia, Pellegrino hosted a cooking competition for the finalists in Milan. The 2015 competition was so popular that they held a second competition; the 2016 winner was American chef Mitch Lienhard.