PALAZZO BELFIORE APARTMENTS IN FLORENCE

OFFICINA PROFUMERIA-SANTA MARIA NOVELLA

A PRIVATE TOUR OF THE OLDEST WORKING PHARMACY IN ITALY

by Catherine Slabaugh

With over 400 years of Florentine history, the world-renowned Officina Profumo- Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella invites visitors nationwide to be entranced by their breath-taking perfumes, cosmetics, and more.

Upon entering, guests are welcomed with an awe-inspiring fresco that takes you back to the Profumo’s origins in the early 1600s. The Profumo was originally owned and operated by Dominican Monks who created herbal remedies for locals. In the early 1900s, the shop was turned over to the government and transitioned into a Profumo, selling luxurious and diverse products for visitors flocking in from around the world.

The Profumo is divided into six different spaces open to the public; the sales hall, green room, ancient apothecary’s shop, sacristy, museum, and herbal tea room. I found myself gazing at the intricate detail of each room and the elegant products on display, truly a breathtaking sight. Each visitor is welcomed into the shop warmly as Profumo workers invite you to experience their products and find one to take home with you.

We arrived for our private tour early in the morning and were quickly surrounded by a vast array of tourists and locals, eyeing the historic yet elegant products. Perfumes, cosmetics, home fragrances, wax products, liquer, and even a product for your pet can all be found in this ancient palazzo.

Stepping into the first room, originally one of the chapels of the monastery, the sales hall features a beautifully restored fresco that represents the four continents, showcasing the Profumo’s presence around the world. The room holds their perfume, soap, and cosmetic products, truly hand-crafted delicacies.

Turning right from the large sales room, we were taken to the green room and ancient apothecary’s shop. The green room features portraits of each Profumo owner, beginning with the earliest Dominican Monks. Here we gazed upon their candle and wax products, home fragrances, and other household accessories, showcased beautifully amongst fall décor to highlight the season.

Connected to the green room is the ancient apothecary’s shop, the original sales hall from 1612 to 1848. We were taken back in time to the Profumo’s ancient herbal remedies as the elisir, teas, herbal supplements, and specialty liquors were on display. The way in which the Profumo holds on to their historical roots and adapts their products for the needs of visitors today is quite inspiring.

The final room is the small sacristy and museum that gave us a peek into the past lives of the Dominican Monks, complete with a restored fresco of the passion of Christ and ancient machines and ceramics once used in the perfume creation. If you are looking to relax and absorb the ambiance of the space, you will be pleased to know that the Profumo holds their own tea room and café where guests can indulge in a cappuccino or cup of tea, while viewing the handmade chocolates, candies, honey, and tea for sale.

I highly recommend experiencing the Profumo through a guided tour, as there are countless anecdotes and stories you will only learn when walking through the palazzo privately. It is here where I learned about the Profumo’s private enclosed garden, home to all the company’s flowers and herbs used in each product, truly ‘Made in Italy’.

There were two products that stood out to me in particular during my visit to the Profumo. Perhaps the most well-known item that continually draws people in is the Acqua di S.M. Novella Perfume, originally created for Caterina de’ Medici in 1533 and sold today using the same original formula. Another eye-catching product is the historical Santa Maria Novella Water, known as Acqua Antisterica, developed in 1614 for calming and digestive purposes.

As the Profumo holds true to their historical roots, they continually develop products that sweep visitors off their feet. Spending a morning at the Profumo is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and one that cannot be replicated. I highly recommend incorporating a visit during your stay here in Florence, as this may be the most unique, and elegantly-smelling, a Florentine experience you will have!

SETTEMBRE IN PIAZZA DELLA PASSERA

Palazzo Belfiore is proud to once again be sponsoring the annual event, Settembre in ‘Piazza della Passera’!

This year marks the 17th edition of the event after taking a sabbatical last year.  The festival was conceived by Stefano Di Pucci, owner of Trattoria 4 Leoni together with the cultural association “In Piazza”, under the direction of Alessandro Di Puccio and in collaboration for the organisation with Momy Manetti.  The initial plan was to include all the main squares of the Oltrarno, with the idea of using art to enhance the territory and an opportunity to meet and discover new talents.

The piazza has come alive this week with two concerts each evening from 11th – 14th, all with free admission and the idea this year was to involve young students in the event.  The ‘Giovani in Piazza’ format, created with the Jazz department of the Florence Academy of Music offers young talents in the sector the opportunity to open the first three evenings.

Palazzo Belfiore was honoured to have Scott Hamilton stay with us on Wednesday night. One of the greatest jazz saxophonists around and in demand the world over, his playing has best been described by fellow tenor saxophonist and writer, Dave Gelly: “Following a Scott Hamilton solo is like listening to a great conversationalist in full flow. First comes the voice, the inimitable, assured sound of his tenor saxophone, then the informal style and finally the amazing fluency and eloquent command of the jazz language.”

CALCIO STORICO FIORENTINO

June is an exciting time to find yourself in the city of Florence – this weekend especially!

The final match of Calcio Storico Fiorentino is held on this Sunday, June 24, which is the day Florence celebrates its patron saint’s feast day for St. John the Baptist. This day is full of celebration for the people of Florence. Catch the parade through the streets of Florence where you can see the locals dressed in historical costumes as well as all the players of the historic soccer game known as Calcio Storico that begins at Piazza Santa Maria Novella and travels through Florence towards Piazza Santa Croce. The parade starts around 4pm and will lead to the final match that will begin at 5pm between team Rossi of Santa Maria Novella and team Verdi of San Giovanni.

The rich history and culture of this 16th century sport, Calcio Storico Fiorentino, a combination of soccer, rugby, and wrestling is very rough as there seems to be no rules observed at all. All of the matches are held at Piazza Santa Croce which is the traditional location for all the matches of Calcio Storico. There are four teams from the historical neighborhoods of Florence who play each other in two playoffs and then the winners play in the final match. 

The day of festivities ends with a night of fireworks which are launched from Piazzale Michelangelo so if you are in town, make sure you have a good view from the river .

Tickets for the final can be purchased at the Box Office in Via delle Vecchie Carceri 1, Firenze from 11:00am Payment by bancomat, credit card (no AMEX) or debit card.

Maximum 5 tickets can be purchased per person.

WHEN : Sunday24 June 2018

TIME : 5:00pm

WHERE : Piazza Santa Croce

Ticket Prices :

  • Tribuna onore centrale  € 80
  • Tribuna onore laterale   € 60
  • Tribuna numerata         € 40
  • Tribune popolari           € 29

BOOK YOUR APARTMENT IN FLORENCE

THE IRIS GARDEN

Now is the Time to Visit the Iris Garden!

 

 

Winding paths lead you past the many varieties of Iris as well as other blooms and there are also various benches where you can just sit and admire the beauty of this garden where over 150 varieties of Iris are on display. Children will love the garden too as they navigate the many paths and steps that lead through the garden and to the ponds, making for a fun floral adventure. Take note if you are taking a stroller though as you will not be able to acces the whole garden – you can leave it inside the entrance though if needed.
It is incredible how you can be so close to the city and yet feel so totally immersed in the country-side. Scattered among the olive trees, this garden is a beautiful respite from the rush of the city.
I would suggest going in the morning before the garden fills up with too many people.

 

OPEN UNTIL THE 20TH MAY – Piazzale Michelangelo
Monday – Friday : 10.00 – 13.00 | 15.00 – 19.30 Saturday – Sunday : 10.00 – 19.30
Last entrance half an hour before closing.
ENTRANCE to the GARDEN is FREE