Story of a Tradition

Pearl of Emilia

Traditional Balsamic Vinegar is unique and inimitable, its production is limited to a very narrow piece of Emilian land, within the boundaries of the Province of Modena excluding the Apennine territories … We are in the heart of the ancient Este Domains to which many stories of this product of tradition are linked whose history is wrapped in the intoxicating holes of legend, oral tradition and little documentation.


Since ancient times history has been rich in products similar to it: musts and vinegars variously mixed make their appearance already around 4000 a.C. Thanks to the Babylonians. The latter, through the fermentation of dates, figs, apricots obtained a vinegar that they used both as condiments and for the preservation of food.

Approaching geographically and on the timeline there are no documents that certify exactly the period and place where the Traditional Balsamic Vinegar originated but it is certain that the bibliographic spiral moves between Ferrara and Reggio Emilia, and then peeps out in Modena where in 1598 the Estense Ducal Court was transferred


The Estensi tasted and made their own the Balsamic Vinegar definitively anchoring this product to the city and traditions of the city of Modena: a jewel with a fine workmanship that is the result of techniques that are no longer random.

The adjective “balsamic” was first used in the inventories of the Este queen in Modena in 1747, probably with reference to its therapeutic use.

The spread of Balsamic Vinegar in the homes of modena is due to the French who in 1796, after occupying Modena, dismantled the ducal vinegar houses, selling the barrels to the wealthiest families of the city. Only after 1815 was it possible to partially rebuild the ducal vinegar factory. From here on there is a proliferation of documentation about Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.


After the period of the invasion French, the ducal acetaia was visited in 1859 by the sovereign Vittorio Emanuele II and the Prime Minister Camillo Benso Count of Cavour. The latter then transferred the best barrels to Moncalieri, where the scarce technical knowledge of running an acetaia and the distance from the territory of origin, soon led to the deterioration of the precious product.

From this period onwards there are detailed historical documents that describe its production.

In this first phase the first dynasties of producers, albeit with the common denominator of tradition, each had their own recipe and their own peculiarity and there was talk of Modena balsamic vinegars. Only in 1967 with the birth of the “Consorteria dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” a common production methodology was recognized, written using as a basis the letter of the Lawyer Agazzotti, addressed to his friend Avvocato Fabriani, in which he explains in detail the ancient production method.

The “Consorteria dell’Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena” also defines a series of parameters that must be respected, although as required by tradition an adequate margin of freedom is left to producers to guarantee everyone the possibility of characterizing their product.