Before it became known for its preserved cherries, Luxardo was a distillery on the coast of what was once an Italian province, but is now modern-day Croatia. Founded in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo, an Italian consul in that region, the company made its name with a cherry liqueur called maraschino, which Girolamo based on a medieval spirit. The liqueur was made from sour marasca cherries (grown in the sandy soil of Croatia) and made by distilling the fruit's leaves, stems, cherry stones, and skins. The liqueur is given its characteristic nutty background flavor, because of the cherry stone (the pits) which is often mistaken for almonds. In 1905, the distillery started selling cherries candied in a syrup of Marasca cherry juice and sugar, thus creating the original Maraschino cherry.
Following World War II Giorgio Luxardo, managed to flee to the Veneto region of northern Italy, taking with him a Marasca sapling and the written recipe for the liqueur. Luxardo's liqueurs—and those cherries—have been made in Italy ever since.