Leone's historic sweet pastilles

When it comes to Italian confections, Pastiglie Leone is high up on our list of favourite candy makers. For over 155 years, this family business from Piedmont, northern Italy, has been making the most delicious artisan sweets.

Luigi Leone

The story of Pastiglie Leone starts in 1857 when Luigi Leone opens a small confectionery business near the town of Alba, in the north-Italian region of Piedmont. Luigi initially sells after-meal mint and digestive pastilles (pastiglie in Italian), but when they gain popularity he starts creating them in all sorts of flavours.

Black and white image of the historic candy factory of Pastiglie Leone

A royal fanbase

The royal family of the House of Savoy are big fans of the sweets. In order for Luigi to be closer to his most famous client he moves his business to Turin, the capital of the Kingdom of Italy at the time. Soon, the pastilles of Leone become some of the most sought-after delicacies in town.

Glass jar of traditional pastille sweets          Vintage Italian tin of Leone sweets

Principe di Napoli

When Luigi introduces a new pastille with orange blossom flavour, he decides to name it after Italy’s crown prince, as a sign of appreciation for his most loyal customer. Up until 1861, the successor to the crown was known as the Prince of Piedmont. However, with the unification of Italy, the future king was bestowed the title of Prince of Naples, to make southern citizens of the new country feel more included. And so, the orange blossom pastilles of Leone come to be known as Principe di Napoli. They’re still sold under this name today.

Leone remains a legendary Italian brand to this day. Its pastilles are made in the same way as they were in the 1800s: kneaded and formed by hand before being oven dried. But there's more to Leone than just pastilles these days. The historic business also produces some of the most delicious jellies, fondents and chocolates. All made with passion and dedication at its premises just outside of Turin, the regal city that made Leone the brand it is today.

Classic box with fruit jelly sweets from Leone

Image credits: The Hyper Localist and Pastiglie Leone