Zaini since 1913

Luigi Zaini

July 23, 1913, Luigi Zaini inaugurates the homonymous “Factory of Chocolate, Cocoa, Candies, Jams and Similar” in Milan, Via de Cristoforis.

The production is accompanied by the import of English confectionery products, showing from the beginning an open and visionary spirit.

“All human beings are different, so why not create lots of different chocolates and candies for each one of them?“


The style of that Era can be admired in Zaini’s elegant candy and chocolates’ wrappers.

The Zaini dark chocolate cooking bar immediately became the highlight of the production, and for the first years it will be called, in the English fashion, simply “Block”, while the endless assortment of chocolates and candies will bear imaginative, suggestive and evocative names of that time.

Zaini launched an extraordinary advertising campaign that will make it known throughout Italy: a collection of cards representing the most popular Italian passions: sport and entertainment.

The cards, originally hand painted, featured movie stars and players from every sport. They are still a collector’s item today.


Zaini cioccolato moved to the new headquarters in Via Imbonati, in the Dergano district, because it needed more space.

In the photograph Luigi Zaini, at the center of his employees, keeps on his knees his fourth son, Vittorio, who will lead the company after the ’50s.


The premature death of Luigi Zaini brought to the scene his wife Olga, equally visionary and capable. She will be one of the very few industrial women of the time, she will surround herself with a female staff, including since then – among the company values – that of equal opportunity.

Suppliers gave the factory the affectionate nickname of “fabbrica dei tosan” the “girls’ factory”.


The devastating bombardments on Milan during World War II destroyed the factory in Via Imbonati.

Olga Zaini had the factory rebuilt immediately, avoiding the impact of the great devaluation that would take place shortly afterwards.


Olga Zaini entrusted her sons Vittorio and Piero with the leadership of the company, not before having changed the name of its symbol – the dark chocolate block – to “Emilia”, in honor of the nanny who took care of her children, allowing her to work full time.


During the Boom years, a box of chocolates became an indispensable gift to take on a visit to family or friends.

Zaini kept on catering to every taste, even the aesthetic one, with tin or cardboard gift boxes decorated with images telling the promising atmosphere of the economic boom.

The Boero, another pillar of the Zaini production, established itself in the 60s thanks to a careful distribution policy in all Italian bars and an exciting contest with instant prizes.


Vittorio and Piero Zaini, brought the success of Zaini products even beyond national borders, laying the foundations for a widespread distribution that today reaches 80 countries in the world.


Zaini passed under the guidance of Luigi Zaini, Vittorio’s son, who with his sister Antonella took care of the consolidation and development of the company both in Italy and abroad, starting from the modernization of the production process.


Zaini turns 100 years old. To celebrate the important milestone a book on the most famous chocolate in Italy is published in collaboration with Giunti Editore Company, “Luigi Zaini and the chocolate factory”, an exhibition under the patronage of the City of Milan is held at Palazzo Sormani and a flagship store is designed as a real boutique-chocolaterie of yesteryear.


With “Le Nuove Donne del Cacao”, a brand new line of chocolate bars, Zaini tells the story of the Company’s support to a female entrepreneurship project aimed at achieving equal opportunities for women cocoa farmers in the Ivory Coast.

history continues...

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