In search of a few new bathroom products, I took mum to the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella for a snoop around the products and to admire the beautiful building.
A little history…
The pharmacy was established by Dominican monks shortly after their arrival in Florence in 1221. The friars began cultivating medicinal herbs in their gardens to prepare medications, balms and ointments for their convent’s small infirmary. The products spread around Italy and later reaching Russia, the Indies and as far as China. It later became a state owned enterprise, transferred to Cesare Ausgusto Stefani, nephew of the Officina’s last monastic director. Stefani eventually bought the company name, goodwill and movable assets, and four successive generations of the same family have since run the Officina Farmaceutica.
Until today the tradition is preserved and renewed. The products are created using the highest quality natural raw materials and follow the artisanal procedures established by the Dominican fathers.
The Sales Room
Originally one of the monastery chapels, it has gone under renovations and has been transformed into the sales room and entrance.
The frescoes on the ceiling, symbolize the fame of the pharmacy and its products around the world.
This is where the aromatics were stored and the distilled waters were conserved, known as the “Room of Waters.” The walls are frescoed with scenes from the passion of Christ.
Established in 1612, the cabinets, furnishings, everything inside are the original 18th Century pieces, in which the collection of products were and are still today, stored.
It is the perfect place to admire ancient history and architecture. You might just leave with a candle or perfume!