When we hear people say: "You look like the old cocoa lady", we stop to reflect only on the meaning of the expression, which wants to indicate that time is passing. Few, however, know that "the old cocoa woman" really existed and her name was Rosa Costanti. From Florence, the woman lived in via Aretina 44, on the top floor of the building. She became famous after being the spokesperson for a well-known manufacturing company cocoa.
Rosa Costanti, popular smile
“The old lady of cocoa”, mother of an equally long-lived daughter, died during the First World War, at the venerable age of 96. She was already elderly when a cocoa manufacturing company, to advertise its products, chose to use a drawing taken from a painting in which Rosa was depicted in the act of filling a cup of hot chocolate for a seated elderly person. That drawing, which remained for many years on cocoa tin packages, visible in newspapers and in her posters, made her famous. Her face, relaxed and serene, together with her sweet smile, quickly increased her popularity.
The “Two Old Men” on the tin box
Rosa appeared in several paintings made by Florentine painters who wanted her as a model precisely because of her naturalness and friendliness. The painting of Rosa pouring cocoa to an elderly man is entitled "Two old men" and was created by the German Ochser. It appeared on the company's boxes Michele Talmone, at the beginning of the twentieth century, and was proposed again in 1924 and 1934. The company began its history in 1850 in Turin. Within a few years, the chocolate factory, thanks to the use of steam machinery, took on industrial dimensions. Today times have changed and so has advertising, but one thing is certain: cocoa continues to be a loved and used ingredient all over the world.
(Photo poster: Cultural Heritage; Photo Rosa Costanti: Get to know Florence)