Officina Profumo – Pharmaceutical Santa Maria Novella: Incredible and unexpected!

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Logo Officina Profumo – Pharmaceutical Santa Maria Novella  

“Gelsomina”  by Beatrice Brandini

I had the pleasure of visiting the magnificent building Officina Pharmaceuticals of Santa Maria Novella, for this I want to say thank to Mrs.Barbara Faini, the press office and Mr. Francesco Carlino, store manager, friendly, professional and helpful. The success of a large company also depends on these things.

3 Sala Vendita 2

Room Sale

4 Sala Vendita Soffitto

Room Sale ceiling

Entering the ancient building, the first thing that strikes you is the beauty of the environment along with an intense, good, therapeutic, “gentle” perfume; you don’t think you’re in a store but in a museum, in a magic place, which was prayer and charity (the founders, the Dominican Friars, had this religious ideal, or charity and loving care of the sick). Everything here is almost suspended, thanks to the silence reigning, despite the great vastness of customers / visitors, but they have, against this place, great respect and regard.

5 Sala Verde 2    6 Sala Verde

Green Room

The pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella in fact welcomes endless and very precious works of art, and is believed to be the oldest historical pharmacy in Europe.

7 Antica Spezieria 2

Room ancient Apothecary

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Coat of arms of the Dominican Order of St. Maria Novella

9 particolare antica spezieria    10 scorcio

Angle view of the room and the ancient Apothecary

The pharmaceutical activity of the Dominican friars began around 1221, the year of their arrival in Florence in the little church of St. Maria fra le Vigne, the ancient name of Santa Maria Novella. Despite the passage of centuries, the most extraordinary thing is that the current owners, but in the end from always, have preserved the legacy of recipes and the artistic heritage through the furniture and the structure of the building.

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12 Sacrestia affreschi 2

Sacristy of the chapel of St. Noccolò.  Frescoes attributed to Mariotto di Nardo 

It is considered 1612 as the year of foundation of the Officina Profumo-Pharmaceutical Maria Novella, but in reality you know for sure that the Dominican monks long before were devoted to the preparation and study of medicinal products, spices, healing herbs. We can therefore say that this is an official date, noting, however, that the activity from that year was simply enriched and deepened .. And, according to the chronicles of the convent, the founder of the legitimate pharmacy seventeenth century was friar Angiolo Marchissi.

To celebrate the 400 years of activity by the Foundation of the Officina Profumo di Santa Maria Novella Pharma have created two fragrances and two bottles at the hands of Eugene Alphandery, director and co-owner Workshop.

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Angle for the floral arrangements and bouquets 

Another important figure for the fame of Pharmacy was friar Cosimo Bucelli, (we are already in 1700), a character from the great ability as a scholar, the most experienced pharmacist of the convent, but also the one who brought the fame of pharmaceuticals and perfumes out Italy and Europe, all over the world. The most important and trained doctors ordered their patients to buy the remedies of Santa Maria Novella pharmacy to ensure a prompt and definitive healing …. He is also credited with the authorship of the oldest and most famous liquor of pharmacy, the alchermes, a liquid with multiple health properties, as is well described in a former advertising which would grant the right “to riavvivare spirits already weary, and lazy, which places greater oscillated, can have fun, eat and drive out the cause of many diseases”. Irresistible,  it’s tried!!

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Detail of the ceiling 

Rather than dwell on the more rich and interesting history of this wonderful place, I would tell you just to visit it because it is really worth it.


Portal of entry

16 ingresso interno    17 ingresso

Internal ingress

It is located in Via della Scala, a few steps from the central railway station and the beautiful Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the entrance is fairly anonymous, you could almost not see it. Only once you enter the show you will understand that conceals, and the feeling that there will only be one of amazement belong.

18 Museo 2

Porcelain Museum, vases of the seventeenth century, Manufacture of Montelupo

19 Bottiglia

Alembic for distillation, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci 

There are care products, cosmetics, but there is also a tea room to sample the oldest and therapeutic herbal teas, a museum of ancient porcelain seventeenth century, a corner dedicated to the bouquet, the herb garden, the cloister with a magnificent garden, salt and dining rooms where everything has a historical importance museum and it seems that time has stopped.

20 macchinari 1  21 macchinari 2  22 macchinari 3

Ancient machinery of Pharmacy 

Thinking about how I could conclude this magnificent journey came to my mind an adjective that I think encompasses and describes, in one word, the magnificence of this place: UNEXPECTED!! is so it this Pharmacy and this piece of Italian history.

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Glimpse Room Sale 

Besides the famous care products and cosmetics, come from the laboratories Pharmaceutical Officina Santa Maria Novella, even perfumes, extracts and essences, spirits, waxworks, herbal medicine, accessories and food products, such as chocolate, honey, biscuits.

Good life to all!


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