• 2024.06.21
  • Blog Liguria - A very sweet and old tradition
The Romanengo confectionery shop in Genoa has been run by the same family of Genoese confectioners for eight generations.
These well-known candy makers have managed the oldest confectionery shop in Italy since its opening in 1780.
They offer all kinds of traditional candies and also candied fruit, pralines and sweet pastries which have become a sort of heritage for the city.
The shop has been visited through the decades by a lot of famous and noble clients including the royal family of Savoy and the Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi.

Romanengo interior

Another player, a French businessman, stepped in a few years ago and now shares the ownership of the famed confectionery shop but tradition remains untouch.
The move was made to promote Genoese sweets to the world and soon products will be available for export too.
Romanengo is not the only old shop in the city: there are around sixty stores in Genoa’s alleyways which are protected as 'historical boutiques’ by the Municipality and the Chamber of Commerce and these businesses include a variety of butchers’ shops, tripe shops, confectionery shops, sciamadde (the ancient focaccia shops using a wood oven) and even some jewelry shops. All these places have been around for at least 70 years of non-stop activity and they all display original antique interiors, unaltered and still functioning instruments as well as well-preserved architectural elements from the 18th and 19th century.
These shops are open year round as they are working businesses which anyone can visit but during the “Rolli days” they open up for visits and reveal their secrets and offer ‘behind closed doors’ type of tours.
The “Rolli days” is a cultural initiative that allows you to delve into the Genoese noble homes, a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site, scheduled on various dates, to get to know Genoa and its treasures from a different perspective than usual.
During such days, it is also possible to visit the old shops and see how they make, store or stock their products and learn more about the families behind them.

Romanengo entrance and facade

Not only the Romanengo confectionery shop survived the World Wars but the family even inaugurated a small factory near Genoa’s main train station in the decade of the roaring ‘20s and they still produce their own sweets today as mentioned earlier. They now manage three locations across the city center and they are planning on opening abroad.
They make pastries with an Arabic influence as tradition dictates. Genoa in fact always had an Arabic influence thanks to its port and its ties with the Mediterranean Sea.
The Romanengos also make candied fruit and dried fruit using only fresh fruits they get from Southern Italy.
They are well-known for their Jordan almonds too: sugar-coated almonds made following an old traditional recipe which gives them a unique taste, fragrance and crunchiness which have little to do with industrially produced ones.
Romanengo's strong point is the perfect combination between traditional recipes and novelties.
Their desserts last over time and yet they follow historical recipes without using any preservatives. They make jam, marmalade and syrups, dragees made with almonds, pistachios, pine nuts, orange peels and even cinnamon bark - a rather rare specialty. The artisans also became experts in cocoa, which was imported initially only from South America and Africa, therefore creating unique chocolates and pralines. Amongst my favorites are the white chocolate truffles, the meringues, the chestnut cream pastries and the typical Lenten biscuits which are sold only around the Easter period.
They praise using only the best ingredients and they aim at respecting traditions and seasonal diversity when it comes to the fruits used for their creations.


  • Patrizia Margherita
  • Jobtranslator, interpreter, teacher

Although she was born in Italy, she is half Italian and half American and she has become a "multicultural person" who can speak five languages. She has lived and worked in the US, Brazil, Australia, France and the UK so she considers herself a citizen of the world. When she is not teaching or translating, she likes cooking Italian food, hiking and traveling around the world...She has traveled to 80 countries and counting!

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