At the end of the 18th century Antonio Maria Romanengo opened a colonial spice shop in Via della Maddalena. Two of his sons opened another two stores in Campetto and a factory for the production of candied fruit and sugared almonds – for which Genoa already had a tradition – as well as the imported French “innovation” of bonbons and chocolates. In 1829 Pietro registered the business with the Chamber of Commerce under the name of “Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano”, a brand which has now been handed down by seven generations. The shop in Soziglia, which opened in 1814, is a veritable gem and was lavishly refurbished in the mid-19th century. The shop window is, itself, a monumental showcase, with angels holding a box of candied fruit and – beneath – Mercury’s winged helmet and a cornucopia full of fruit and flowers: this is the entrance to a trip back in time. The interior was modelled on Parisian confectioners’ shops and retains its original layout and decor: polychrome marble floor, frescoed canvas vault ceiling in the main area for customers and stuccoed ceiling in the room at the back, chandeliers, inlaid rosewood shelving and counters, mirrors and an attractive marble sink in the form of a shell. Illustrious patrons of the past include the Duchess of Galliera, the Doria family, the Duchess of Parma, the Savoys and Giuseppe Verdi.
In a magic atmosphere reminiscent of Willy Wonka there is an embarrassment of riches for those with a sweet tooth: sugared almonds, candied fruit, fondants and chocolates with candied violets that are known around the world. The Genoese identify with the “Romanengo logo”: a dove with an olive branch, intended as a symbol of peace following the Napoleonic Wars.