A hundred years of chocolate in Milan

De Cristoforis Street is the cradle and dwelling place of the history of chocolate in Milan. It is right there that, a hundred years ago, Luigi Zaini choose to establish his chocolate factory, which was named after him and was then run by his wife, Olga, up until the 50s. Still today visitors will find themselves immersed in the untouched atmosphere of the old times.

  • 1913
    Luigi Zaini and his workers in the factory located on De Cristoforis Street, in the year of its foundation. Soberly elegant women and proud men wearing waistcoats.
  • early 20th century
    Artusi’s definition of hot chocolate was that of a “beverage for convalescents”. Thereafter it was the Belle Epoque to unveil its nature of tempting luxury.
  • 1923
    A price list dated May 1923, which shows the ancient four-digit phone number and the big two-story factory, with its chimney stack puffing smoke into the sky.
  • 1923
    When reading through the list of products we enter a world of magic, in which all different tastes would be granted gratification.
  • 1925
    In the factory located on De Cristoforis Street it is the women’s responsibility and privilege to run the wrapping department, by virtue of their accuracy and skill in packaging chocolate bars.
  • 1925
    In the Zaini factory located on De Cristoforis Street women also take part in the productive process, working side by side with men in the gum and jam department.
  • 30s
    An illustrated poster of Zaini captivates children’s imagination by depicting a shower of chocolates and candies.
  • 30s
    The Zaini family on holiday. Luigi and Olga are posing with their children Piero, Rosetta e Luisa, along with Olga’s parents.
  • 30s
    The attention to detail of the graphics and colors of the wrappers of Zaini candies in the 30s makes them just as beautiful as miniature Art Nouveau masterpieces.
  • 30s
    In addition to the beauty of their graphics and colors, Zaini candies also carry evocative names: Eva, Giovinezza (Youth), Excelsior, Luisella and Reale (Royal).
  • 1938
    The wrappers of Zaini candies pay homage to one of Milan city’s symbols, its cathedral; stained glass window motifs are depicted on them in detail.
  • 30s
    The big names in the Italian illustration industry are engaged in designing the first advertising posters, an example of which can be seen above.
  • 1938
    After Luigi Zaini’s death, it is his wife Olga to take over, running the company with her excellent entrepreneurial skills, adorned by her charm, which remained unaltered.
  • 30s
    Olga Zaini knows how to combine harmoniously the three roles life has led her to take on: a mother, a woman and an entrepreneur. In the picture we can see her with her son Vittorio, who eventually took over the management of the company, back in the fifties.
  • 1940
    In the 40s Zaini chocolate bars tell the story of the origins of cocoa and milk through the elegant pictorial representations on their wrappers.
  • 50s
    By the fifties the nightmares induced by the war have gradually evanesced and happy little girls and boys smile on Zaini chocolate boxes.
  • 60s
    In the sixties chocolate boxes have become a present that nobody would ever fail to offer, when paying a visit.
  • 60s
    The Italian economy is booming and the fact is celebrated by the joy shining through advertising posters. A glamorous pinup – a typical icon of those years - draws people’s attention smiling on one of Zaini advertising placards.
  • 60s
    On special occasions, such as the “Fiera del Levante”, Zaini products are endorsed by popular people, two eminent examples of whom are the Italian boxer Primo Carnera and Edy Campagnoli, one the most famous television showgirls at that time.
  • 1963
    In 1963 Zaini marks its fiftieth anniversary. The picture here above shows Olga Zaini holding hands with her sons and successors Vittorio e Piero at the event celebration.
  • 1980
    In 1963 Zaini marks its fiftieth anniversary. The picture here above shows Olga Zaini holding hands with her sons and successors Vittorio e Piero at the event celebration.
  • 2013
    In 1963 Zaini marks its fiftieth anniversary. The picture here above shows Olga Zaini holding hands with her sons and successors Vittorio e Piero at the event celebration.

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