Pescasseroli is a small town in central Italy that was once a royal hunting reserve for European aristocracy. For Paride Vitale, who grew up there in the home of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, it was something even more beautiful: “a wonderful, small town in Abruzzo where silence reigns,” where children wander in the mountains and ride horses in the woods. And where big ideas are born.
It was on a walk with a park ranger through the national park that Vitale and his friend, Ugo Maria Morosi, began to wonder how they could help other people experience the heady aromas of the forest – laburnum, juniper, honeysuckle, broom, wild angelica, iris, musk, and beech, a tree that populates almost all the woods in the area. It was a scent almost impossible to describe – nature in full bounty and bloom, a pocket of pure air.
That walk inspired the idea for PARCO1923, which launched as a brand in 2016. These two very sophisticated friends found their inspiration in one of the most rustic of places, the forest they both loved as children, and transformed it into one of the most influential fragrance houses in Italy.
“A National Park more than any other place is made up of scents, those of the woods, paths, flowers and trees. You would recognize the scent of the Abruzzo National Park among a thousand. In addition, the National Park has plants that have been used for centuries to perfume, to cure, to wash. Plants that have always been in the hearts and lives of the people who live in these places.” Paride Vitale, quoted in Italian Vogue
Morosi and Vitale teamed up with Luca Maffei, a young and widely admired “nose” in the perfume world, along with a group of local botanists who were intimately familiar with Pescasseroli flora. And to be sure they were capturing the essence of this wondrous place, they then ran it by a group of park rangers, who recognized in it the unmistakable scent of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park.
From this adventure grew PARCO1923, named for the park and its founding date.
“PARCO1923 is the Italian story of a territory, which transforms and reminds us how much greenery and nature are essential for building a better future.” – Ugo Morosi
Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is roughly 192 square miles of mostly beech forest in the Apennine Mountains, overlapping mostly Abruzzo but also parts of the Lazio and Molise regions. One of the oldest parks in Europe, its forests are abundant with wildlife, from birds of prey to deer and wild boar – along with a number of species in desperate need of preservation. The park’s headquarters are in Pescasseroli, and since 1923 it has played a critical role in the preservation of species including the Marsican brown bear, the symbol of PARCO1923.
For Vitale and Morosi, PARCO1923 is an old story – of weather, sun, wind, protective snow, crystal clear rivers and streams, and human care – that became a perfume.
An Italian Fragrance Force
Today, Parco 1923 has stores across Italy and a handful of premier cities abroad. They eschew mass retail and work instead with elite boutiques and exclusive niche perfumeries in places like Milan, New York, Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice, Turin, London, and Paris. Their collection is carried in the U.S. by Mozzafiato.
Vitale himself is known throughout Italy as a master stylist of other elite brands and as a designer of high-profile events. He’s been called “the soul of Milan” and is admired for his knowledge of entertainment, art, culture, literature, and taste for the finer things in life – for his sense of fun as well as for his deep respect for what he does and creates.
With PARCO1923, he and Morosi turned their robust talents toward the preservation of a place that is deeply embedded in both of them. The brand is designed as an ambassador for the park that inspired it – a way to draw attention to the natural areas they love and help ensure they exist for generations to come. In their packaging, they worked to capture the nobility and elegance of the park’s history, a sense of something strong and gentle at the same time.
PARCO1923 tells the story of ancient woods and mysterious flowers – a story written by plants living in one of the most uncontaminated places in the world. PARCO1923 enclosed their fragrances into its bottles. You just have to close your eyes and you’ll feel immersed on a path leading to the forests, where you can feel the presence of deer … and hope for the shy pacific Marsican brown bear to appear.
Mozzafiato is proud to carry products from PARCO1923. Here are a few of our favorites: