The origin and history of chocolate production in Perugia
The strong relationship between the City of Perugia and the chocolate begins in the early 1900s when one of the most famous chocolate bon bon, the “Bacio”, has been created.
There’s a fascinating story to be told: it all began with Luisa Spagnoli who mixed hazelnuts and chocolate, created the bon bon and started to sell them in the small shop she had opened with her husband in the city centre. She named the bon bon “Cazzotto”.
In 1907 the two bedmates, together with Francesco Buitoni, opened a small company located in the historical city centre which, even then, counted 15 employees. Francesco Buitoni rejected the name chosen for the bon bon by Luisa Spagnoli and decided to name it “Bacio”. At that time, Lusia Spagnoli and Francesco Buitoni became lovers. It seems that she used to send him some of those Bacio bon bon together with small cards with words of love; that is the reason why, since then, the Bacio bon bon contains a small slip of paper quoting words of love.
During the first world war age Luisa Spagnoli managed the company alone with her two sons. At the end of the war the Perugina is a factory with more than one hundred employees.
Luisa Spagnoli became a entrepreneur and opened a textile factory paying great attention to social issues: she built a kindergarten, swimming pools and several other services for her employees; she also opened a huge park for children that still exists (Città della Domenica).
The story of Luisa Spagnoli and the strong relationship between the City of Perugia and chocolate have even become the subject for a feature film.
Perugia preserves the evidence of the various civilizations that have passed through its long history: it has been one of the most significant Etruscan city, a Roman colony Augusta Perusia, an important medieval city and a free municipality, then, it has lived through successive periods that have left their signs in the city, from the Renaissance to the Risorgimento until now .
Today Perugia is the administrative capital of the Umbria region, cultural destination and prestigious university city for over 700 years. The historic Academy di Belle Arti, the Music Conservatory and the Foreigners’ University, with students from all over the world, define a strong international vocation. City of art, but also city of music with the Umbria Jazz and the Sagra Musicale Umbra festivals, and city of chocolate.