I've never been one for 'souvernirs' but if you ever happen to be in Florence this is a place that you: a) want to visit as a historical site b) take away beauty and home products for both you and friends/family as chic/acceptable souvenirs. Especially around Christmas, gifting something in the beautifully wrapped Santa Marai Novella retro packaging is always a little bit special. I always stock up on hand soaps, bath salts and scented candles (the men's range is fab too).
Officina Santa Maria Novella is a Florentine institution. First founded in 1221 in Florence by the Dominican Friars who started making herbal remedies and potions to use in the monastery. Their reputation became world renowned and the pharmacy, sponsored by the Grand Duke of Tuscany, opened to the public in 1612.
Many of Santa Maria Novella’s products have become a part of history: the world famous pot-pourri is still hand crafted in large terra cotta vats using local essences and plants as has been the tradition since the 1200’s. The first “Eau de Cologne” has been attributed to the pharmacy’s creation in the 1500’s of Catherine de Medeci’s “Water of the Queen.” She used the citrus and bergamot scented water constantly and gave it to all of her closest friends during her reign as the Queen of France.
The Almond Paste is an excellent rich cream made from almond butter. The Rose Water can be used on the face for washing and removing make-up or for scenting linens. The Milky Soaps, scented with Santa Maria Novella’s own fragrances are made with whole milk to protect and soften delicate skin.
And of course the Santa Maria Novella fragrances themselves; classic scents like Honeysuckle, Rose and Iris, exotics such as Patchouli, Marescialla and Calycanthus, and, romantics like Jasmine, Violet and Lily of the Valley.
The original "Officina" is in Florence, but Santa Maria Novella has shops all around the world that you can locate via their website and, from the US, shop online. Yet the Florence experience is unique so make sure you come and visit the store next time you are in town!
Officina del Profumo Santa Maria Novella
Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze
Tel +39 055 216276