January 2017

With a history stretching back to 1221 Santa Maria Novella is a perfumery with great depth; some might say its heritage is as rich as the scents and balms it offers.

The beginnings of the perfumery, though known then simply as a pharmacy, can be traced back to 1221 when Dominican friars arrived in Florence to build their monastery outside the city gate. Having settled amongst the monastery walls the friars began to study and experiment with herbs grown in the gardens with the intention to use the medicines, balms and ointments (infused with the herbs) for use in the monastery’s small infirmary. In 1612 the monk Fra Angiolo Marchissi opened the pharmacy to the public. It was quickly recognised by the Grand Duke of Tuscany and was given a royal warrant.

Over 400 years later the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is situated on the Via della Scala but has been renewed and has adapted to changing tides. The brand has also set up shop all over the world. Raw materials of the highest quality are still used and the apothecary father’s artisanal procedures are still followed with the aide of state-of-the-art equipment. A visit to the original store in Florence not only provides an opportunity to stock up on a bottle of Acqua della Regina but it also provides you will a chance to admire the quiet beauty of the store. Decorated with original painted walls and ceilings, the store is an homage to the original Dominican friars and harks back to the real reason they settled in Florence; as a place in which to worship. 

Santa Maria Novella
Via della Scala
All imagery (c) Santa Maria Novella