Historical building, Bologna
The story of the Majani family and their famous production of chocolate starts in Bologna towards the end of the 18th-century thanks to the hands of Teresa Majani, founder of the confectionery business.
The first shop to open was in Via de’ Carbonesi and it soon became the famous workshop where the family perfectioned its famous delicacies. The shop is still open nowadays and can be visited; it stands in the same place where, during the Roman Empire, the theatre was placed. Some of the remains of this theatre can still be seen on occasion, although they’re inside a private abandoned building.
The Majani family became famous throughout Italy in 1832. They were the first to produce chocolate in a solid form. Until then, chocolate was produced and used solely as a beverage. The first solid chocolate to be created was the “sfoglia”, which can still be found in some shops around Bologna and that was made by crumpling thin layers of chocolate.
The turning point for the family was in 1867, when Majani’s forefather obtained the documents needed to get into Turin and buy a modern machine which was able to implement production and supply both the manufacture plant and their private home with electrical power.
Their true fame and prestige arrived in 1878, when their productions were chosen as delicatessen to be served at the royal’s table. After the first tasting, the Savoia enjoyed their chocolate so much that a little while later the Majani became their official suppliers.
Another success was achieved during the Fiat competition in Turin, when the renowned company celebrated its model Fiat Tipo 4. The Majani took part in the competition presenting one of their chocolates, the famous cremino: a square-shaped, 4-layered chocolate made of creamy gianduia chocolate, in honour of Fiat’s production number and the city of Turin. The judges loved the idea and the Majani family won the competition.
A following expansion period allowed the family to increase both their production and sales and, in 1908, the Palazzina Majani building we can nowadays see in via Indipendenza, currently a famous garments shop, was built.
The building was designed by Augusto Sezanne following the Art Nouveau’s style. The inside of the building had a workshop, a bar and a dancing room, and the whole structure was embellished by a terrace that can still be seen from the street. Often the terrace was the site for parties and concerts, and there was even a small stage for an orchestra. The style was inspired by the famous Viennese chair, main trend of the Art Nouveau style.
Palazzina Majani was closed during World War II and reopened in the 50s as a bank seat. It has been used since 2004 as the location for different clothes stores.