Luigi's Memories

A photo album, a company, a family and its 100 year history. The chocolate factory as told through the memories of its founder Luigi Zaini, where personal events intertwined with the company's development in Milan, following the socio-economic changes of the country.


Luigi Zaini & C. is founded.

Luigi Zaini & C. is founded. In this picture the founder (who can be recognized by his mustache, goatee and bowtie) is in the factory's courtyard at Via De Cristoforis, surrounded by his workers: 28 women, 32 men.


This picture shows the Zaini factory on Via De Cristoforis, drawn by hand on the cover of the catalogue. It's a large building with a long smokestack that must have released the scent of chocolate throughout the neighborhood.

The wrapping department. Most of the workforce at Zaini was made up of women, as often happened in artisanal confectionary firms, where careful dexterity was needed when packaging the goods.


Luigi Zaini, after becoming a widower, marries Olga Torri. In this photograph, the couple poses with the two children from the previous marriage and their daughter Luisa. Vittorio would be born just a few years later.


Zaini moves to Via Imbonati. In this photograph from 1933, Luigi Zaini, in the center and surrounded by his workers, holds his son Vittorio. He was the youngest of his children and would manage the company until the late 1950s.


Zaini produced collectible trading cards featuring sporting champions, movie stars and memorable feats. Leonardo Sciascia told the Gazzetta dello Sport that it was thanks to Zaini trading cards that he became passionate about soccer as a child!


Lugi Zaini passes away. He personally chose his wife Olga as the new manager of the company. His intuition was, as always, right. Olga Zaini managed her company until the late 1950s with extraordinary skill and talent for vision.


During these years, the packaging and wraps became increasingly elegant and well-finished, like in the case of these Luigi Zaini packets, which held bonbons with evocative names: Reale, Excelsior, Eva, Maruska, Luisella…


The Zaini factory is practically destroyed by the air raids. Olga Zaini started reconstruction works immediately, making an agreement so that her workers would be employed by the building company. That way they wouldn't lose their salary. In the photograph, Olga Zaini is seated in the center.


Zaini grows with a focus on technological innovation and quality. Vittorio Zaini divided his dedication to work with a passion for horse racing that led him to become one of the best Italian gentleman readers. During those years, compliments were created, mini chocolates to have with coffee outside the home.


Zaini management moves into the hands of Vittorio's son, Luigi, who worked alongside his sister Antonella. Emila chocolate and other Zaini products, whose production had moved to Senago (MI) a few decades earlier, are distributed in 80 countries around the world.


For Luigi Zaini, this is the centennial year. For this important occasion, Luigi and Antonella Zaini completed a project that was... out of the ordinary. On Via De Cristoforis, the same street where the factory appeared 100 years earlier, they created an exclusive chocolate shop full of original elements from that period, selling handmade chocolate products...

... and the story continues!