Located on the northern edge of Italy, bordering Switzerland, Lombardia is home to unrivaled historic art, culture, and natural wonders. From the impressive Alps to the scenic countryside and the unstoppable energy of Milan, Lombardia has it all. With famous destinations including its world-class cosmopolitan capital and the serene scenes of Como and Bellagio located in the lake region, Lombardia provides endless activity, discovery and opportunity. It’s also home to more UNESCO world heritage sites than any other region in Italy.
It is no wonder that two of our most beautiful, heritage Italian brands call this region home. Rudy Profumi, founded in Milan in 1920, has an extensive collection of richly designed hand soaps and lotions, body waters, and personal fragrance that add a touch of Lombardia to any home. Perlier, with 80 years of history in Lombardia, produces the world’s most exquisite bath and body products along with a new innovative hemp line. More about these two very special brands in a minute, and Amy’s own personal favorite products from each, but first let’s dive into a bit more about the region that has served as their home and inspiration for generations.
People have settled in the Lombardia region since at least 2000 BC, and it flowered as a Roman province beginning around 194 BC, becoming one of the most advanced and prosperous regions of Italy. In the 6th century AD, the region was overtaken by the Lombards, who migrated their entire country in from Central Europe and reigned until Charlemagne claimed it as part of the Holy Roman Empire. The region grew as an economic and political force over the centuries, even as other European nations – notably Austria and France – continuously warred over who would control it. Over the centuries, its rich and flourishing culture has produced great figures like the poet Virgil, Pliny the Elder, Caravaggio, Monteverdi, and more. Today, it is home to a sixth of Italy’s population and a fifth of its GDP, with much of its population clustered in the capital of Milan -- making it the most populous, richest, and most productive region in the country.
The Capital: Milan
“My cousin Francis and I are in perfect accord – he wants Milan, and so do I.” – Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. (Francis I of France took hold of Milan and Lombardy several times in a row between 1515 and 1525)
Lombardia’s capital city is the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the nation’s center of fashion, design, banking and publishing. It offers a feast of delights for travelers and residents alike – from its distinctive European-influenced cuisine and its rich history of architecture and art.
In the heart of the city is The Duomo of Milan, a monumental Gothic cathedral begun in the 14th century and not officially completed until 1965. Around 1833, the writer Hans Christian Andersen visited and was stunned by the experience. He wrote: “I went daily to the cathedral of Milan, that singular mountain which was torn out of the rocks of Carrara. I saw the church for the first time in the clear moonlight; dazzlingly white stood the upper part of it in the infinitely blue ether. Roundabout, wherever I looked, from every corner, upon every little tower with which the building was, as it were, overlaid, projected marble figures. Its interior dazzled me more than St. Peter’s Church; the strange gloom, the light which streamed through the painted windows – the wonderful mystical world which revealed itself here – yes, it was a church of God!”
The Duomo is located on the vast Piazza del Duomo, bordered by the royal palace on one side and with an array of opportunities for shopping or pausing for coffee or an aperitivo.
Milan is home to some of the country’s finest museums. At The Pinacoteca fine art gallery in the Palazza Brera, you can gaze at works by Raphael, Rubens, and Correggio. The Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology houses his drawings and blueprints – and reconstructions of his flying machines.
Visitors to Milan also flock to the Grand Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – one of the world’s oldest and most opulent shopping malls with prestige brand names like Prada, Versace, and Luis Vuitton.
Lombard cuisine reflects its character as a land-locked region. It relies less on the tomato, fish, olive oil, and pasta you’d find in other parts of Italy and instead is more heavily influenced by the cuisines of central Europe, leaning more heavily on rice, butter, pork, and beef (reflecting the strength of cattle-raising in the region). Classic dishes include saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese, osso bucco, and renowned regional cheeses like Gorgonzola, Grana Padano and Taleggio. Lombardia is also home to what we at Mozzafiato consider the world’s most perfect panettone, from “King of Pastry Chefs” Igino Massari. This soft golden bread, studded with plump raisins and scented with orange peel, is an Italian Christmas tradition, and Massari and his family bakeries have taken the classic dish to an exquisite new level.
A Tradition of Mastery
Lombardia has long been a home to masters like Igino Massari – artists who achieve mastery in their craft and then share their knowledge generously. It’s a tradition deeply embedded in the history and culture of the region. Consider that Lombardia was the lifelong home of Antonio Stradivari, who dedicated himself to perfecting the proportions and tone of the modern violin. He produced 1,116 instruments of unsurpassed beauty and tone, all while experimenting in search of the ideal shape and form. Leonardo da Vinci spent formative years in Lombardia, as well, perfecting his craft – his masterwork, The Last Supper mural, is in the Santa Maria delle Grazie church and convent in Milan. The fashion industry reached its zenith in the region that has produced Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Giorgio Armani and more. Today, that quest for beauty and artistry is carried on by those who produce some of the world’s finest beauty and skin-care products, featured at Mozzafiato.
With that context, let’s get back to our two gorgeous beauty brands that hail from this extraordinary region.
For more than 80 years, Perlier has been a leading name in the beauty industry with a dedicated team of chemists, pharmacists, scientists, and agricultural specialists committed to developing the best conceivable skincare products and the most powerful natural products that science can deliver. The company maintains its own Biological Research Center, La Carignana, outside Turin, where it maintains 150 acres of pesticide- and insecticide-free land for producing flowers, honey, and healthy plants. The artists at Perlier select and combine pure, active, natural ingredients using science to deliver the best characteristics of pleasure, taste, and fragrance. Natural Recipes is the company’s slogan and mantra, and Perlier’s success is attributed to an ongoing commitment to research the effectiveness, fragrance, and pleasure of the fresh plants and natural ingredients used in its formulations. Perlier is also known for its sophisticated and elegant design.
Mozzafiato CEO Amy Parsons recommends a few of her personal favorite Perlier products:
“This was my “love-at-first-sight” product from Perlier. The scent is indescribably luscious and it is my single favorite product to use in my bath.”
“Every single person who tries it, any age, any gender, loves this product. I buy it for my mother and my girlfriends, and I always have it in the office. It is universally loved.”
“I live in dry Colorado and Perlier’s Hemp Oil is proving to be the moisture boost that I need. I’ve taken to adding a few drops of the oil into my bath, into my body lotion at night, and into my sunscreen in the morning. I’m basically cocktailing it into everything!”
Founded in Milan in 1920, Rudy Profumi has been managed by the same family for a century – a family committed to sharing their natural love for beauty through a democratic beauty brand made entirely in Italy, with an international flavor. From its origins as a high-profile fragrance house, Rudy Profumi continues to focus its attention on great design and the best raw materials.
Today, the Calabrese family carries on with the same love and professionalism as great-grandfather Spiridione Calabrese, who created the company in Milan. He began his adventure as a perfumer dedicating himself to mixing hair dyes until he experimented and created the formula to melt and solidify pressed powders to color lips, creating the lipstick stick as we know it today. His resourcefulness and success pushed him to expand his business by creating luxury fragrances, whose packaging design was often the work of his son, Antonio.
Antonio's children and granddaughter are at the helm of the family business today. They celebrate and honor their heritage by carrying on the values of their grandfather. In addition, they maintain the quality of the raw materials and the final product, demonstrating that they are always evolving to give their customers products with an original formulation, that are attentive to research, and respectful of the environment.
Mozzafiato CEO Amy Parsons recommends her personal Rudy Profumi favorites:Maioliche Liquid Hand Soap in Amalfi Peony
“Like all of Rudy Profumi hand soaps, the dispenser itself is gorgeously designed and this scent of Amalfi Peony is especially unique and beautiful. This is the soap I keep in our powder room, as I know it will delight anyone who uses it. With a price point of $14, it’s also a perfect, practical, special gift for anyone.”
“I’ve become a fan in recent years of body water, spritzing on a light scent just out of the shower in the morning gives me an invigorating lift. I’m using the Vanilla and Almond Oil now but customers love the Orange Blossom version too so I’m going to try that next.”
“This floral fragrance so light and easy to wear for everyday. It’s a sparkly scent with fruit and floral notes, but also a hint of vanilla, which is a fun complement to the Vanilla and Almond Body Water.”
There’s so much more we could say about these brands and the magic of their home in Lombardia – about Lake Como, nestled against the Alps, or the gracious resort town of Bellagio. We could talk about the abundant national parks and wildlife, the rich agricultural tradition, the remarkable UNESCO World Heritage sites including pre-historic rock drawings in Valcamonica, and even about the plans to host the 2026 Winter Olympics. But don’t just read about Lombardia! Dive in and experience it yourself by adding Rudy Profumi and Perlier – products that capture the essence of the region -- to your beauty routine.