Some of the most exquisite fragrances and products in the world originate from deep in the heart of one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Florence. Nestled among the most famous art museums (Academia and Uffizi), sitting near the buzz of the grand plazas and Ponte Vecchio, in the region of Tuscany known for its superior wines and breathtaking landscapes, you will find two native Italian beauty and fragrance companies that have perfected their formulations over decades and centuries: Farmacia SS. Annunziata 1561 and Lorenzo Villoresi.
“Everything about Florence seems to be colored with a mild violet, like diluted wine.” – Henry James, 1869
It’s been said the glory of Florence is its past – a past that continues to shape the city’s vibrant and colorful present. To walk through the streets of Florence is to walk alongside Michelangelo and Da Vinci, Machiavelli, Dante, and Galileo. Dining in Florence – whether in a Michelin-starred restaurant or from a food truck on the street – you taste centuries of tradition, a culinary history defined both by poverty and inventiveness, where cooks learned to eschew waste and transform the simple ingredients at hand into masterpieces of flavor. The birthplace of the Renaissance, Florence attracts millions of visitors every year who revel in the breadth of the city’s influence on art, architecture, politics, textiles, literature, food, and wine. A major economic hub, it is also a center of fashion and beauty.
Julius Caesar established the modern city of Florence in the valley of the Arno River in 59 BC, as a settlement for veterans of the Roman army. Its geographic position on the Arno and at the crossroads between Bologna and Rome made the city vulnerable to attack, and over the centuries, Florence was frequently occupied by outsiders – the Ostrogoths, the Byzantines, and the Lombards among them.
The city was one of Europe’s most important banking centers in the 13th and 14th centuries, and Florentines invented both the letter of credit and the first international currency. The city also developed a flourishing fabric industry specializing in woolen cloth. Plagued over the centuries by political rivalries and unrest -- and the actual plague – the city rose to full glory under the leadership and largesse of the powerful and wealthy Medici family. It was with their influence during the 14th-16th centuries that Florence emerged most prominently as a political, economic and cultural capital, becoming the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance – when Italian culture spread across Europe, and Italy emerged from the darkness of the Middle Ages into a new and more enlightened age.
Italy’s most revered poet, Dante Alighieri, considered “the father of the Italian language,” was born in Florence, and the medieval city and its inhabitants are frequently referenced in his works. Caught up in the politics of his age that pitted supporters of the Pope against the Holy Roman Emperor, he was eventually banished from Florence on charges of corruption and threatened with burning at the stake if he returned. He died in Ravenna in 1320 and is buried there – although Florence finally rescinded his sentence in 2008!
The Museo Galileo, located in the Piazza dei Giudici, celebrates astronomer and scientist Galileo Galilei, who lived in Florence most of his life. Among the artifacts housed there is the lens from the telescope with which he discovered the moons of Jupiter.
Both Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci are among the artists with deep ties to the city whose work and lives still feature prominently in museums and galleries there. Visitors to Florence today can immerse themselves in this rich history and indulge in the energy of a city that was and remains home and inspiration to some of the greatest artists, thinkers, scientists and writers in human history.
Florence is the capital of Tuscany – and of Tuscan cuisine. Libraries have been written about the traditional specialties and delicacies of the region that have emerged over centuries, and countless websites are devoted to the best trattoria, enoteche, pasticcerie, and gelaterie. We recommend the tried-and-true approach to learning about Florentine wine and cuisine: Dive in! Create your own “best of” list in a city where “the best” is fully on display. An excellent meal is available at every price point – and there is usually a view to match. Visitors to the city can even take guided walking tours focused on the delicious -- with stops at the San Lorenzo Market; samples of fresh bread, trippa alla fiorentina, and Lampredotto for the adventurous, and sips of richly roasted coffee and exquisite local wine.
Two of the remarkable brands we are proud to feature at Mozzafiato have deep histories in Florence and are intimately intertwined with the city.
Artists in Florence didn’t just work in marble and paint – it’s also a city of apothecaries, pharmacists, and alchemists. And it is where, in the heart of the Renaissance in 1561, Farmacia SS. Annunziata 1561 was born. For 460 years, inspired by the Renaissance-era Guilds, Farmacia SS. Annunziata 1561 has created high-prestige products and exclusive scents that transport the history of Florence into the modern day. Owned today by the Azzerlini family, who have managed the brand for two generations, they produce the most rich, gorgeous room fragrances in distinctive sophisticated bottles that bring good taste and style to any room. Farmacia is also innovating in new products and skincare that it will launch with its refreshed branding and products this spring – stay tuned for when they become available in the US through Mozzafiato!
Meanwhile, a classic and timeless staple of Farmacia SS. Annunizata 1561 is The Arte Del Cambio Fragrance. Translating to “the art of exchange”, this scent is an ode to the activity that Florentines excelled in. It is sparkling and persuasive like the passage of coins from one hand to another; and the combination of mandarin orange and basil awakens the desire for great ideas and the risk of diving into something new and unknown in the search of success. Some of our current Farmacia favorites from the Arte Del Cambio fragrance at Mozzafiato include:
The Arte Del Cambio Bath Salt : Thanks to their natural ingredients and exclusive scent, these bath salts have relaxing, refreshing, and soothing properties, and make your skin extremely soft and velvety.
The Arte Del Cambio Home Fragrance Diffuser : Perfect for any room in your home, this scent brings a calming and inviting ambiance that embraces a tranquil and peaceful environment.
The Arte Del Cambio Candle : Elegant and high-quality, expertly made with a wooden wick to create a relaxing, welcoming, and pleasantly scented atmosphere.
Lorenzo Villoresi, world renowned perfumer, discovered his passion for creating perfumes and fragrances while studying and traveling in the Middle East for his philosophy degree in the 1980s. After years of research and experimentation, he turned his passion into a profession when he founded the company that bears his name. More recently, he opened the Museo Villoresi a museum dedicated to fragrance in the heart of Florence, a must-see stop on any visit to the city.
Villoresi retraced the routes of Renaissance merchants, blending the materials and fragrances of Italy with the spices and essences of the Orient to create his most beautiful fragrances. Today, you can also indulge your senses with a soak in water scented with his perfumed bath salts, which like all his scents are characterized by rich, diverse formulas and extensive use of precious natural ingredients. An iconic fragrance that we are loving right now is the Teint de Neige. Meaning “the colour of snow”, it’s an aroma delicately permeated by the richness of the natural extracts of precious flowers, recalling the light, images and atmosphere of the Belle-Époque.
Our must-haves from the Teint de Neige fragrance line include:
Teint de Neige Scented Stones : Carrara marble, white, softy luminous with a pearly sheen, has inspired great sculptors to give life to creations that are ethereal, sensual, delicate and seductive, like the fragrance of Teint de Neige gently diffusing in the room.
Teint de Neige Home Fragrance Spray : Sensual and elegant, a sophisticated reminder of the color of perfumed powders. A soft and pleasant aroma that is delicately infused by the richness of the natural extracts of jasmine, rose, and heliotrope.
Teint de Neige Soap : A scented soap made with pure vegetable paste, it’s soft, gentle, and enveloping. This soap has the sweet notes of jasmine, rose, ylang ylang on a base of musk, heliotrope and tonka beans.
Consider giving a little scent of Florence – to yourself or someone you love – in the form of a luxurious Florentine fragrance from one of these two remarkable brands. Whether it’s a Farmacia bath salt that leaves your skin perfumed and velvety; a potpourri, spray, or diffuser that adds some mystery and romance to the air; or one of Lorenzo’s gorgeous soaps, body creams, or perfumes, you are giving an authentic treasure from deep in the heart of Florence that will bring a connection and delight to anyone.