Celebrating over 400 years in business and over 600 years in existence, the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is a hidden gem of Florence.
What is it?
As one of the oldest pharmacies in the world, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica offers customers modern day products created using ancient recipes. From perfume to skin care, the pharmacy’s creations are unique and unlike anything else. The pharmacy allows visitors to take a break from the crowds of Florence and explore ancient medicinal and cosmetic products.
In the beginning of the 13th century Dominican friars converted the church Santa Maria Novella into a monastery and created an adjoining apothecary for the convent’s infirmary. During the Black Death of the 14th century, the monks created rose water distillate which was used as an antiseptic.
In the 16th century, the monks created the perfume Acqua Della Regina to commemorate the marriage of Catherine de Medici to Henry II, the future king of France. Having the endorsement of the daughter of such a prominent Florentine family helped the pharmacy gain prominence and in 1612 they opened the doors to the public.
Today, the pharmacy still produces perfumes, soaps and elixirs, that could be found during the Renaissance.
Why should you visit?
A restoration in 2012 restored the pharmacy to its original appearance allowing visitors to step back in time while they shop or enjoy a glass of tea.
Between the frescoes of the sacristy, flower arrangements in the flower corner and ceramic collection in the museum, it’s easy to spend an afternoon exploring the aromas and art of the ancient shop.
Where is it?
Address: Via della Scala, 16 – 50123 Firenze
Open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
For more information about guided tours visit www.smnovella.com/contents/orario-visite-guidate.html