The Golden Age of the Bergamot was disrupted by two dramatic events which put at risk the very existence and survival of this famous fruit. The first was the earthquake of 1908, which totally destroyed Reggio Calabria and devastated the area around the Straits of Messina, putting an end to so many prospects of development in just a few seconds. However, the tenacious character of the people of Reggio, sustained by help from all parts of the world, enabled the area to overcome the awful catastrophe. The wounds caused by this seismic calamity slowly healed, the Bergamot orchards were replanted and extraction of the Green Gold recommenced. The second blow inflicted on the Bergamot occurred between the 1960s and 1980s: a massive attack launched by the giant international chemical industries, aimed at capturing the highly profitable market of perfumes and cosmetics, and seeking to destroy the leadership acquired by the Bergamot over the centuries. It was a two-pronged attack: on the one hand it involved an insidious and aggressive campaign of pseudo-scientific disinformation which claimed that cosmetic products containing Bergamot oil were potentially harmful; while at the same time a number of totally synthetic essences were produced and put onto the market. To overcome this difficult challenge, the “Comitato Internazionale di Difesa del Bergamot- to” (International Committee for the Defence of the Bergamot) was established in 1986. Three teams, working under the supervision of some eminent international scientists, were able to prove in a carefully documented manner the completely innocuous nature of Bergamot essential oil, reassuring both consumers and perfume producers and supplying demonstrable proof of the superiority of the natural product over the synthetic alternatives.

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