An Ancient Tradition

Giacinto Callipo established our company back to 1913, in Pizzo, a beautiful city located in Calabria and historically known for tuna fishing and tonnare.

Our company was the first in Calabria, and one of the first enterprises in Italy, to tin the precious Tuna of the Mediterranean. Since its establishment, ‘quality first’ is the mission that Callipo set out to pursue: in fact, in 1926 Callipo was awarded the License of “Official Supplier” by the Real Casa.

After 106 years Callipo has never wavered from that principle: a “way of being” which our business continuously hinge upon, well aware that it represents the secret of success.

1913

In Pizzo, Giacinto Callipo established the company, the first in Calabria and one of the first enterprises in Italy to tin the precious tuna of the Mediterranean, fished with the system of “permanent tonnare”.

1926

Callipo was awarded the License of “Official Supplier of the Real Casa” (Royal Household), as a proof of attention towards total quality.

1940

Since 1940, Callipo Tuna is appreciated by connoiseurs. After processing, this product is stored in large tins, filled with olive oil and sealed. As a result, tuna can be stored for longer than usual tuna standard storage period.

1957

Three employees working in the Callipo plant. The company was amongst the first in Calabria to promote women’s employment.

1970

Callipo products were exhibited at the XXV International Fair of Preserved Food Industry in Parma

1994

Callipo had a pioneering role in the market launching Tuna fillets in glass jar. A successful performance exalting this high quality product.

2005

Pippo Callipo was awarded a knighthood as “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, in recognition of his entrepreneurial commitment and distinctive performance in the sector, with ensuing benefits for society.

2013

Callipo celebrates 100 years of activity, by receiving on this occasion a congratulatory message from the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano expressing “enormous appreciation for the company’ unswerving commitment to renewing and handing down the experience of an invaluable business tradition”.

2019

Callipo celebrates 106 years of activity and values handed down throughout generations: actually, today Pippo Callipo is accompanied by his sons Giacinto and Filippo Maria, representing the fifth generation.

1913

1913

In Pizzo, Giacinto Callipo established the company, the first in Calabria and one of the first enterprises in Italy to tin the precious tuna of the Mediterranean, fished with the system of “permanent tonnare”.

1926

1926

Callipo was awarded the License of “Official Supplier of the Real Casa” (Royal Household), as a proof of attention towards total quality.

1940

1940

Since 1940, Callipo Tuna is appreciated by connoiseurs. After processing, this product is stored in large tins, filled with olive oil and sealed. As a result, tuna can be stored for longer than usual tuna standard storage period.

1957

1957

Three employees working in the Callipo plant. The company was amongst the first in Calabria to promote women’s employment.

1970

1970

Callipo products were exhibited at the XXV International Fair of Preserved Food Industry in Parma

1994

1994

Callipo had a pioneering role in the market launching Tuna fillets in glass jar. A successful performance exalting this high quality product.

2005

2005

Pippo Callipo was awarded a knighthood as “Cavaliere del Lavoro” by the President of the Italian Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, in recognition of his entrepreneurial commitment and distinctive performance in the sector, with ensuing benefits for society.

2013

2013

Callipo celebrates 100 years of activity, by receiving on this occasion a congratulatory message from the Italian President Giorgio Napolitano expressing “enormous appreciation for the company’ unswerving commitment to renewing and handing down the experience of an invaluable business tradition”.

2019

2019

Callipo celebrates 106 years of activity and values handed down throughout generations: actually, today Pippo Callipo is accompanied by his sons Giacinto and Filippo Maria, representing the fifth generation.

A century of history

On the 14th of January 2013 our company celebrated a centennial of activity. On this occasion, we organized a number of activities and received several acknowledgments. In particular, the Italian Postal Service issued a special stamp cancellation.

Also the President of Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano wished to “join” the celebrations, by dedicating a commemorative plate to this historical event.

The plate has been offered to our administrator Pippo Callipo, together with a letter by which the Head of the State expressed enormous appreciation for the company’s unswerving commitment to renewing and handing down the experience of an invaluable business tradition.

Company policy

Giacinto Callipo Conserve Alimentary S.p.A., having its registered office in Via Riviera Prangi n.156 – 89812 Pizzo (VV), is active in the production and marketing of preserved food derived from the processing of tuna and cod. The company has identified, in this document, the values leading its internal functionality and the relationships with external partners.

Our company ensures that products comply with current legal dispositions in terms of health and safety, by constantly complying with laws and regulatory developments, with special attention to the environment, ethical aspects, occupational health and safety and sustainable fishery.

The company is well aware of the negative impact of indiscriminate fishery on the marine ecosystem and encourages the creation of large-scale marine reserves aimed at protecting important marine habitat and reproduction areas.

The Management in Callipo has identified and pursues the following strategic goals by relying on human, material and economic resources:

  • satisfaction of consumers and commercial partners by the realization of high standard products which comply with the market expectations
  • consolidation of long-term and profitable relationships with all clients and suppliers
  • the activation of any prevention measure aimed at reducing risks, preventing accidents and limit harmful effects on the environment and the health of population, by an appropriate management of unexpected events
  • continuous improvement of environmental standards, by progressively reducing all environmental impacts related to the development of the activities
  • sustainable supply of raw and subsidiary materials
  • the selection of suppliers in accordance with their capacity to provide lots of tuna from fishing activity, in authorized periods only, and without a massive adoption (higher than 25% of the total catch) of FAD fishing techniques (fishing aggregation devices)
  • a decrease to zero of purchased tuna from FAD fishing systems and the rejection of tuna derived from long-lining
  • the purchase of lots of tuna only from fish boats and authorized companies, which are monitored by inspectors on board and Dolphin Safe certificated
  • the purchase of MSC certificated raw materials for selected productions of fish preserves that comply with sustainable fishery requirements, and use selective methods not affecting the marine ecosystem
  • the development and diffusion throughout the company of a philosophy of quality and respect of the Territory, achieved by training and awareness activities for all the employees
  • the reduction of the risk of contamination of environmental compartments deriving from production
  • clear definition of the roles and responsibilities within the organization, and the possibility for all the staff to express and develop their own capabilities
  • continuous improvement of all business and occupational health and safety conditions, involving employees in this process and evaluating their proposals of amendment and update of process, procedures and systems
  • specific trainings for all employees to the awareness for occupational health and environmental care
  • the reduction of risk of injuries and occupational health, especially in the sector or handling goods, devices and installations maintenance, placement of new machineries, either in ordinary, extraordinary and emergency conditions
  • compliance of existing systems to the best available technologies, so as to improve quality standards of products, as well as environmental and safety standards

Compliance with the UNI EN ISO 9001, UNI EN ISO 14001 disposition, BRC and IFS standards, the achievement of the first Product Certification in the segment of tuna preserves, and the implementation of a system for the management and improvement of occupational health and safety, all reflect the management commitment to the attainment of the above goals.

The Management commits to raise awareness to the above said goals towards all interested parties and encourage all managers and collaborators, in the context of their respective powers and responsibilities, to comply with the prescriptions as defined in the Manuals, in the Procedures and in the Operative Instructions of the Organization.

The ancient tonnare

The ancient tonnare

Thanks to its climatic conditions, the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia has always been favored as the ideal environment for the reproduction of Thunnus Thynnus tuna species. For this reason, Calabrian coasts have always been characterized by a major concentration of tonnare and other productions. According to historical documents, the most important and one of the most ancient ones, “la Grande”, was established in 1457 and is located in Pizzo.

Tonnare represented centres of industriousness involving diverse activities and interests. They were a source of wealth and subsistence for local population, offering several possibilities of employment not only during the fishing period but also for the rest of the year.

During the winter, tonnaroti (workers of tonnare) used to fix old nets and to produce the new ones, to caulk the boats (traditionally painted in black as a camouflage to deceive tuna), to carry maintenance of steel wires and anchors, and they also carried out a number of additional preliminary activities.

The permanent Tonnara structure was a fishing system imported from Arabic people around AD 1000 on Calabrian and Sicilian coasts, featuring a complex battery of fishing nets immersed in the sea, designed to catch the tuna during their “genetic migration” route in spring and summer.

The “Tonnara Grande” in Pizzo was installed into the sea in early April, but the actual fishing season only took place in May-June, when the so-called “running tuna” was captured, and in July-August, on the return journey of tuna after eggs laying, with the capture of the “returning tuna”.

The installation of the tonnara involved a large crew of roughly sixty men, endless kilometres of nets, hundreds of anchors, “mazzare” (stones) and cork floats known as “ballette”. The entire structure was itself anchored to a large cliff on the shore, called “catena” or chain, which was the starting point for the “pedale”, a particularly solid structure that held the barrier net in place, strong enough to resist to powerful sea currents and storms.

The rectangular formation of nets called “isola” or island was composed of a series of five connected chambers, from which the tuna were directed towards the last chamber to the west, known as the “death chamber”, the only one having a net on the sea floor as well. This enormous trap with no way out was triggered only when a sufficient amount of tuna had entered the chamber, and the chief-fisherman, called “raìs”, ordered the final part of the “cannamu” (moveable net) to be raised in order to seal off the chamber.

The tuna fishery was supported by a series of boats, the largest one being “U Caparrassu” (the “Chief Rais”), from which all orders were imparted. In addition, it used to back the final part of the tonnara (“cannamu”) that, when properly operated, used to seal off the door of the “death chamber”.

Tuna boats each had their own names, according to their functions. Tonnaroti standed on the “Portanova”, giving the signal by shouting “toccau/it touched” when fish hit their sighting lines. Their voices broke the silence alerting the crew and the raìs, who were waiting on the boat “U Scieri”. Then they drew the attention of the guardians on the boat “Colannitu”, announcing the “levata/rise”. The other boats, called “Musciari” and “Barcacce” were used to move within the tonnara and bring tuna to the shore. Upon “levata”, waiting seemed to last forever.

In the meanwhile, fish kept on moving from the “small chamber” to the “death chamber”, hitting the lines held by the tonnaroti on “Colannitu”, who confirmed the touch by shouting: “leva, leva, tira!/Rise, rise, pull!”. The raìs, after verifying the size and amount of tuna, ordered to lift the tricolor flagpole on the boat “U Scieri”. After being trapped in the “death chamber”, the “mattanza” or killing took place. This was not perceived as a cruel practice but as a matter of necessity and an exhausting procedure, slow and unavoidable, accompanied by the rhythm of an ancient ballad: “A levata”. By singing, tonnaroti from Pizzo expressed their compassion and implored forgiveness in advance. The song ended with the words: “a tutti i tunni cercamu perdunu/to all the tuna we ask forgiveness”.

Those popular sailor songs reflected the joy of waiting and the illusion that the struggle would turn into an enjoyment, harmonizing with the soloist. The local monastery of St. Francis, because of its fortunate position, was the first to set the signal from the boat “U scieri” and it used to ring the church bells in celebration, informing the population of the abundant catch. In consideration of the enormous devotion the inhabitants of Pizzo showed to St. Francis of Paola, patron saint of the seafarers, on each good mattanza, the biggest tuna was offered to the Minim Friars in Pizzo.

The end of tonnare coincided with the end of an activity which, in the darkest centuries of the past and in times of poverty, represented an invaluable source of work and wealth for Pizzo.

Bbliography: Franco Cortese – La Tonnara – in: Le Tonnare di Pizzo – Soc. Editrice Jaca Book (1991); Franco Cortese – Genesi e progenie della città di Pizzo – Soc. Editrice Edizione Brenner – Cosenza; David Donato – La fine di un’epoca e di un’epopea! in: Le Tonnare di Pizzo – Soc. Editrice Jaca Book (1991); AA. VV. – Le Tonnare di Pizzo – Soc. Editrice Jaca Book (1991).

The Brand Callipo

Our company has never radically betrayed its own distinctive brand, which has remained the same through time, especially in terms of font and colors.

A stamp for Callipo

An important regard

On the 29th of November 2014, the Ministry for Economic Development authorized the Italian Postal Service to issue a € 0,80 postage stamp donated to Callipo as part of the series “The excellence of the productive and economic system”.

The stamp was printed by Italy’s State Mint and Polygraphic Institute and distributed by the Italian Postal Service: much care was taken to the design in order to emphasize the Italian identity of the company and its centennial history. The images reproduce, in fact, the handmade processing of tuna and celebrate the tradition that Callipo family has handed down for five generations.

The stamp, created by the Italian State and dedicated for the first time to a Calabrian company in a specific thematic area, embodies a special significance for both our company and Calabria as well, conveying on a national basis the idea of a region characterized by quality and productivity, and by the unique contribution of highly specialized and industrious workers.

With a production of approximately 5,200 tons a year and a daily production capacity of approximately 300,000 cans and 35,000 glass jars, Callipo is well established in all the national and international distributive channels and is part of a corporation of 6 companies employing approximately 300 workers.

Callipo Group

Callipo Group srl is an operative holding providing services and advice for 5 subsidiary companies operating in the sector of tourism, sport and ice-cream production. These companies are characterized by differentiated businesses but by a common mission: total quality and attention to territoriality.

With approximately 400 employees, the companies of the Group are: