Here are two beautiful shops worth visiting if you ever make a trip to my hometown Florence – or if you’re into perfumes!
Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Founded by Dominican friars shortly after 1221, the year of their arrival in Florence, the pharmacy used medicinal herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medications, balms and pomades for the monks’ infirmary. In 1612 the monk Fra Angiolo Marchissi opened the pharmacy to the public. So the Dominicans officially started their commercial activity selling their curative and ephemeral products directly. Thus the Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (Perfume and Pharmaceutical Laboratory of S Maria Novella) was born.
The building is like a palace, with gardens, courtyards, a tea room, a museum, a chapel and finally the shop. Going through the rooms is a unique experience. Despite everything being kept like it used to be, they have clever modern ways to help you with the shopping experience.
To avoid the hassle of carrying products you want to purchase around, you get a card instead where they add your items via a barcode system. Once you finished to wandering around the beautiful rooms, you make your way to the cash desk “room”, hand out your card & pay. Beautiful perspex perforated cases allow you to smell products the right way. All the packaging maintained its original beautiful graphics.
Aquaflor Firenze is a perfume atelier where rare and precious perfumes are created by the master perfumer, Sileno Cheloni. By appointment only, custom/bespoke perfumes are made for clients in a private laboratory. The shop is situated in three large rooms in a Renaissance palace in Borgo Santa Croce, a short walk from Piazza Santa Croce in the heart of Florence.