History 1 History 1 History 1

MELETTI - History

The Silvio Meletti Company was born in 1870 thanks to the laboriousness and invention of its founder; Silvio Meletti. The roots of this company and its successful products have to be found even further back. Silvio Meletti was raised in a poor family and soon quit his study to help his mother at work; his mother run a small store and sold a home-made anise liquor very popular among her customers, among many other items.
The anise distillation is an old tradition in Ascoli and it is still possible today to find exquisite quality home-made anise distillates especially in farmers’ homes.

Silvio Meletti learned her mother’s technique and recipes and started studying French essays on distillation (His family still owns his book dated 1700) and after several experiments, he enhanced the recipe and distillation technique that is still used today to obtain the Anisetta Meletti.
This recipe main ingredient is the green anise (Pimpinella anisum), a type of anise typical of the editerranean area; green anise is strongly aROMEtic because of the clay nature of the soil in the Marche region and particularly in the Ascoli area. The anise of these lands is, in fact, two or three times more fragrant than the anise in other Mediterranean areas.
This particularly fragrant anise was and still is going through a process of a discontinuous steamed distillation. The “flavoring” part of the liquor is taken from other distillations of carefully chosen flowers, seeds, and fruits and then is added to the liquor. The recipe and the procedure elaborated back in 1870 are the same used today by the Meletti heirs and the Meletti family, now at his fifth generation, is still the only ompany owner.
Silvio Meletti also used his talent for commercializing his products; he used to give as presents liquor bottles to people he trusted in neighboring towns so the liquor would be known outside his town. Therefore, the company product markets, productivity and personnel quickly increased.
He decided to bring his Anisette to well-known international fairs of that time and he was awarded Honorable Mention at the Paris international expo in 1878.
In 1896, the company rapid commercial growth came to a stop because of a serious life-threatening illness that affected Silvio Meletti. After two years, he fortunately fully recovered and could go back administrating his company. Liquors production and sales became florid and Anisette achieved success all over Italy.
Advertising for his product was very expensive, so Silvio Meletti became a sale representative for TURIN Venchi Company and while going around selling Venchi chocolates, he also promoted his Anisette. Anisette sales went really well to the point he was able to establish a real commercial net with his own sales agents in main Italian cities and to open a factory outside his town.

His son Aldo after earning a High School diploma in accounting and participating in WWII entered the familycompany as a commercial manager. Aldo traveled all over Italy to coordinate and help the company sale agents. The way he communicated with his father is particularly funny: the two of them used to make plans for their Italian tour stops and hotels; in a time when where telephones were not available, Silvio sent letters to his son with info on what to do next to the hotels he previously knew his son would have stayed. His son would then write a letter from the hotel and his father’s reply to that would be delivered to his
son’s next hotel stop. All this correspondence is stored in the Company Archive.

Silvio Meletti was a very precise person: he personally took care of every aspect of his business, from production to sales, from advertisement to the cultivation of Anisette raw ingredients. Counseling on how reap anise seeds that he left his son has been found in his personal notes: his advice was to reap medium-size seeds leaving the bigger ones aside because lacking fragrance and the smaller ones because not ripe yet. This had to be done by hand, an unconceivable counseling today.

Silvio Meletti was also involved with marketing and advertising besides development and commercial strategy: he studied and pioneered advertising campaigns on newspapers and billboards thus becoming part of Italian advertisement history; at the beginning, he used small advertising spaces on local newspapers (“fogli”) then real publicity campaigns at regional and national levels with the publications posters he commissioned to famous and less famous artists of that time. The most important among them was Marcello Dudovich, a Trieste artist who made history in Italian billboard advertisement with his posters and affiches designed for the most famous companies of our century.

In the second half of the XIX century and the first half of the XX century, national and international competitions and events were very trendy in the liquor business: Silvio Meletti brought with enormous success his Anisette to many of these expos. Anisetta Meletti, in fact, won gold medals in the Ostenda, Turin and Athens expos (1901-1903) and other awards in Paris in 1900; in Naples, Rome, Milanand Bruxelles in 1910; in 1918, Silvio Meletti was the first in Ascoli Piceno to be awarded Cavaliere del Lavoro and King Umberto I awarded the exclusive “Royal Home Supplier” copyright to the Meletti Company thus imprinting Meletti entrepreneurial success with the royal seal. List of awards:

• 1878 PARIS - Honorable Mention
• 1881 ROME - Silver Medal
• 1881 MILAN - Bronze Medal
• 1891 ROME - Silver Medal
• 1898 TURIN - Silver Medal
• 1900 PARIS - Bronze Medal
• 1900 NAPLES - Silver Medal
• 1901 ROME - Silver Medal
• 1901 OSTENDA - Gold Medal
• 1902 TURIN - Gold Medal (Jury)
• 1902 TURIN - Silver Medal (Com. Agr.)
• 1903 ATHENS - Gold Medal
• 1904 SENIGALLIA - Gran Premium
• 1906 MACERATA - Gold Medal
• 1910 S. MARINO REPUBLIC OF - Gold Medal
• 1910 BRUXELLES - Honorary Diploma
• 1911 TURIN - Gran Premium
• 1911 TURIN - Gold Medal to Silvio Meletti
• 1913 GAND - Gran Premium
• 1914 MILAN - Gran Premium (Marche Expo)

Actually, Anisetta was not the only big creation Silvio Meletti had left to his successors: his second creation was in a way a “daughter” of the first one; in 1903 he bought for 24,150 Italian liras the Royal Post Office building located in Piazza del Popolo, the town main square. In few years, he completely remodeled the whole building and transformed it in one of the most beautiful Italian coffee houses and one of the most important Art Deco building in Italy: the historic Caffè Meletti.
Contemporary chronicles read: “Silvio Meletti is building a Coffee house worth of a European Capital” (Il Lavoro, 1906). The choosing of the Art Deco style in tune with the European Capitals current taste raised Ascoli to their level. He personally chooses the interior decorations and the style of the building that turned to be one of the best expressions of the Italian Liberty (Art Deco). He personally inserted in the floral decoration of the ceiling the anise plant as a decorative item thus imprinting his signature.
The Caffè Meletti is an architecture masterpiece that keeps in balance the structure and the organized space of the Romanic-Renaissance Piazza in a continuum that goes from the Renaissance period to the Modern age.
Caffè Meletti has been and still is not only the gathering place of Ascoli life but also the city symbol in Italy and the world. It is renowned for the quality of its service and pastries: the Pierina pastry, created in honor of Silvio Meletti’s wife Pierina, is very famous.
The Caffè was sold in 1991 by the Meletti family and is now property of the Ascoli Piceno Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio.

Silvio Meletti also had an important role for the City social life: he never forgot his humble origins and became president of the Ascoli Society for Mutual Help.
As we have said, Silvio Meletti was helped in running the company by his son Aldo who lead it after his father’s death. Aldo unfortunately died young when he was forty: Silviano, Aldo’s son, was only five and the company was administered by Aldo’s wife Annamaria, the only woman leader of company in 138 years; she held that position until Silviano turned 21 and she is the one to acknowledge if the company was able to survive.

Silviano Meletti was the company president from the 50’s to 2005. During this period Silvano held many roles outside the company, such as president of the Tourist Board, president of the Trade Association and president of the Ascoli Piceno Chamber of Commerce.
People he trusted administrated the company under his supervision during these years. After 138 years, the Meletti Company is still administrated by the Meletti family, the only owner.

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DITTA SILVIO MELETTI S.R.L. - Zona Industriale Campolungo - 63100 - Ascoli Piceno Tel. +39 0736 403493 - Fax +39 0736 403516
Registro Imprese di Ascoli Piceno - R.E.A 10591 - Capitale Sociale:  Euro 67.600,00 - P.IVA: 00179300447

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