In all fairness I didn’t know about this until my good friend came back from Florence and gifted me with an elegantly wrapped package of what appeared to be some amazing skincare…made in Italy. I could tell right away these were exceptional from the tasteful ribboned box they came in and even the bag. Of course I couldn’t wait to open it up and try them.
The long name is Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. It was established in 1221 by Dominican Monks shortly after their arrival in Florence. The friars began cultivating medicinal herbs in their gardens to prepare medications, balms and ointments for their convent’s small infirmary.
Once fame of their extraordinary products spread beyond Italy, it became opportune, in 1612, to open the pharmacy to the public.
The ingenuity of the formulas developed by the apothecary fathers, in the 18th century became renowned and crossed numerous borders reaching Russia, the Indies, and as far away as China.
Today the tradition is perpetuated and renewed. They use the highest quality natural raw materials and follow the artisanal procedures first established by the Dominican fathers.
The Officina is particularly attentive to the herbalist’s art which has triumphed since the enterprise began, basing all its preparations on herbs and natural lipids, with nothing tested on animals.
Each of the products has its own peculiar history. For instance one of the products “Acqua della Regina” is an essence that was created especially for Caterina de’ Medici (a noblewoman, crowned Queen of France after marrying Henry II).
There are other ancient recipes that deserve mention but perhaps that is the most popular perfume.
The original Via della Scala premises, where production took place until just a few years ago, while still a store, are genuine museum rooms. The museum’s purpose is not only to educate people about the Santa Maria Novella’s products but to benefit visitors who simply wish to see a “museum of tradition.”
The products are available in Florence. Address: (Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze, Italy) and major cities in Italy. They have travelled to France, Spain, Belgium and England and a few locations in the United States.
In North America you can find them at:
Address: 285 Lafayette St #2, New York, NY 10012, United States
Address: 8411 Melrose Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90069, United States
Address: 9700 Collins Ave, Bal Harbour, FL 33154, United States
They are unique and wonderful