Monday, July 09, 2007

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella

I was first aquainted with this store in New York City when my then-boyfriend/future husband introduced me to this antique line of hand-made soaps, perfumes, and toiletries. I was immediately seduced by the packaging and gorgeous display of products and I can honestly say it was love at first sight.
So when we went for a last-minute mini jaunt this weekend and our friend Francesca graciously offered to watch our dog, I immediately went to the SMN store here in Rome to pick her up a little something nice.
The pharmacy dates back to 1221 when Domenican friars settled in Florence but was officially opened in 1612 when Fernando I di Medici gave them permission to open their doors to the public. The original recipes of balms, lotions, essences, powders and soaps are still followed to a large extent. The quantities are limited and quality is the highest priority. I assume this is why many of it's products have become historically famous. Caterina de’ medici, queen of France, took with her to paris the Eau di Cologne (later renamed to Acqua di Colonia). A very famous liqueur is Alkermes which held the sales record in the nineteenth century; also held in high regard are Elixir di China and Liquore Mediceo which was named in honour of the Medici family and the Elisir di Edimburgo, an excellent bitter. And for you horror movie fans out there, Hannibal Lecter (aka Dr. Fell) personally visits the farmacia in Florence and chooses a scent which he spritzes on a letter he sends to Clarice. This is actually how they track him down to Florence because his identity is revealed on the videocamera in the farmacia. In the book I believe he orders a custom-made perfume for Clarice prepared and sent by the farmacia in Florence.
My favorites are the Pomegranite bath salts and the latte soaps.

There is a nice if somewhat academic video that explains more detail about the history of the famacia here.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella
Corso del Rinascimento, 47 Tel.06-6879608-6872446


Blogger Shelley - At Home in Rome said...

LOVE this stuff. Didn't you bring things from here to our Xmas party swap? If memory serves me. Always a hit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007 4:36:00 PM  
Blogger avery said...

Yes. This is my fail-proof gift that always works. Even my picky sister who loves thriller movies was telling everyone about the connection btwn smn and Hannibal after I brought her some goodies!

Thursday, July 12, 2007 8:12:00 PM  
Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

The Los angeles store is walking distance from my apartment. I love their products...I will look for the pomogranite salts.

Friday, July 13, 2007 6:08:00 PM  
Anonymous jessica in rome said...

Hey winner! I picked you for a Schmooze award! So you better update soon :)
Here is my post about it!

Friday, July 27, 2007 7:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Marie said...

I now live for nine months of the year in Italy so all my friends are always wanting me to bring things over, I bought an Italian property in the south in Calabria about two years ago.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 12:54:00 PM  

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