the chocolate factory

Chocolate since 1866

the beginning

The story of Cioccolateria Romeo Viganotti began in Genoa in the second half of the 19th century. Thanks to meticulous research into our past, we have explored the origins of what is now one of the most famous historical factories in the Ligurian capital. Fascinating documents consulted during this research tell us that the forefather of the Viganotti family, Domenico, was already a well-known chocolate maker in 1866, and owned a workshop in Via della Maddalena, which later moved to Via Garibaldi.
Of his numerous children, one in particular became successful in the family business: Romeo.
The story goes that when he was still a curious child, Romeo often used to sneak into other chocolate factories in the city: after all, what could a small boy understand about the techniques used by master pastry chefs? And this was the beginning of the historic Viganotti chocolate factory.

Tradition and innovation

romeo viganotti

As well as inheriting his father’s passion for chocolate, Romeo also proved to have a remarkable head for business: he decided to move the chocolate factory to Vico dei Castagna, in the heart of Genoa’s old town, where it still stands today. Romeo Viganotti was a genuine trailblazer with a talent for combining his innovative ideas with respect for tradition and ancient recipes.
His aim was to create a dynamic modern company which would retain the characteristics and quality of good chocolate, made with the same machinery and artisan care as in the past. And so it was that in 1901, as we see from official documents, Romeo Viganotti decided to give his name to the family factory – the name we know today.

After Romeo Viganotti

Roberto Pastorino

Romeo had two daughters: the elder died early, but the younger, Letizia, became the owner of the business on her father’s death in 1954. Letizia Viganotti never married or had children, but was helped and supported in the business by her uncle Pietro Adorno Pastorino, her mother’s brother and Romeo’s brother-in-law. And in 1959 Pietro Pastorino inherited the company from his niece. Pietro had two children, Maria Jose and Roberto, but neither married or had children.

Roberto Pastorino took over the factory in the mid-60s and, along with his sister Maria, continued the artisan production of chocolate, following the tradition that had distinguished the Romeo Viganotti brand for over a century. When they retired in the late 90s, the Pastorino siblings were tempted to close the business, unwilling to pass it on to someone who lacked the will and dedication needed to continue the long-established company.

the story continues…

the boccardo family

It was destiny that introduced Roberto to Alessandro Boccardo (b. 1968), a patissier with a great passion: chocolate. Then owner of his family patisserie “L’Helvetia” in Campomorone, Alessandro was appointed in 1998 by Viganotti. His work earned him the respect and trust of the Pastorinis, who in 1999 decided to pass the business on to him, “in the desire that he honourably continues the old and esteemed factory”.

In the subsequent years, until his death in April 2010, Roberto continued to attend the factory, establishing a solid and almost filial relationship with Alessandro. Soon Alessandro’s son Eugenio also developed a passion for chocolate and the historic factory, and joined the business to perpetuate the values and tradition of the Viganotti name. The Viganotti art of chocolate continues to be handed down through the generations, intact for almost three centuries, along with the original recipe books, machinery still used in production and the little “secrets” that make Viganotti one of the best-loved historic factories in Genoa La Superba.