Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

A tale of two sodas

Coca-Cola may have beaten a path of world domination, but Italy has definitely put up a fight. Italians had been drinking Spuma for decades when Coke came to town. Carbonated water with sugar, caramel and a range of natural flavors such as orange peel, rhubarb or vanilla, Spuma is the generic name for soda. So it took a long time for Coke to build a brand name of its own, without being thought of simply another form of Spuma. And as Coke slowly built its brand in Italy, a new competitor arrived – Chinotto. Made from the juice of the myrtle-leaf orange, the drink looks very much like cola, but has a sour, bitter taste that people either love, or hate. Today, both are popular and happily co-exist, with one appealing to those with a sweet tooth, and the other to those who like their Spuma sour.