Perugina, the iconic Italian chocolate brand, is opening a boutique in the heart of Rome. The popular Baci chocolates(the Italian word for ‘kisses’) were invented almost 90 years ago. Although the sweet treats have gone unchanged throughout the years, the shops they’re sold in certainly have.

Perugina creates high quality confections including chocolate bars, pralines, hard candy, and panettone. Perugina products are exclusively imported and distributed in the U.S. by Colavita, USA.

These historic images of Perugina boutiques show just how much the business has evolved.

1. Hometown shop: Perugia in the 1920s

Perugia in the 1920s

The small, hazelnut-filled chocolates were created in Umbria in 1922 by an Italian lady, Luisa Spagnoli, as a way of using up leftover hazelnuts.

2. Nuts about Naples, 1935

Nuts about Naples 1935

The little slip of paper nestled beneath each chocolate with its message, meditation or musing on love has been there since the 1930s.

3. New York, 1940s

New York 1940s

In the 1930s, the chocolates crossed the Atlantic, with a prestigious store opening on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Here, the interior of a Perugina shop in New York in the 1940s. The 1940s was also when the tiny silver stars were added to the wrapping.

4. Style and substance, 1950s

Style and substance 1950s

The brand has always been synonymous with elegance and class – embodied in the smart uniforms of these five Perugina ladies, seen in a New York store during the 1950s.

5. Mid-Century modern, 1950s

Mid-Century modern 1950s

While the shop fittings may have changed, here in the interior of a boutique from the 1950s, the silver-wrapped chocolates remain virtually the same.

6. Bows and brights, 1970s

Bows and brights 1970s

The brand has always moved with the times. Shown here are the bright-colored designs of a 1970s Perugina store in the southern Italian city of Lecce.

7. Milanese curves, 1970s

Milanese curves 1970s

Here in Milan, the circular forms of the staircase and display cabinets reflect the curves of the chocolates themselves.

8. Choosing chocolates

Choosing chocolates

Baci chocolates, which have retained their star-speckled silver foil wrapping, now include a white chocolate version, wrapped in midnight blue.

9. All roads lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome

The interior of the new Rome store, on the central Via del Corso, includes a chocolate area where cocoa-based creations are made by hand.

10. Heartfelt


The Perugina brand has always been associated with Italy and romance. This year, for Valentine’s Day, the sweet treats come in heart-shaped tubes.