In 1894, Coca Cola opened it's very first bottling plant. The first Cokes were sold to the public in 1886 at the soda fountain of Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.
In Italy, in 1927, Romana Acque Gassose opened the first Coca-Cola manufacturing and bottling plant in Italy. This was followed in the 1930s by the bottling companies SRIBEG in Genoa and STIB in Leghorn, and by FAMIB in Milan, which manufactured and marketed soft drinks under The Coca-Cola Company trademark. The independent bottling companies subsequently multiplied to the point where they were in a position to distribute Coca- Cola products all over Italy.
In 1995, The Coca-Cola Company, global leader in soft drinks boasting 4 of the world’s 5 biggest brands (Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola light, Diet Coke, Fanta and Sprite), decided to handle its Italian operations directly and accordingly bought the 11 bottling companies located in the north and center of the country... by 1998 there were 16 such plants.
When we visited Italy, Coke was everywhere. For me, I drank Fanta Aranciata... in Italy, a totally different drink than Fanta here in the States. In the U.S. it's a bright, artificial orange color with an overly sweet, chemical taste. In Italy, it's actually made with orange juice. It's fresher and more natural tasting--imagine orange juice and seltzer. I loved it.
But for my boy, Lucas and wife, Lisa, once in a while they needed a Coke fix. Lucas loved Coke Zero... he said it tasted the same as here, but Lisa said it was less sweet. In general, sodas in Italy are very different... and they usually are less sweet. Italians like more fruity, sour flavors--bitter too. But make no mistake about it... you'll find Cokes everywhere in Italy.