Italy – with its abundant natural beauty and a culture steeped in art, music, and fashion --has inspired the most sensual, romantic fragrances in this world. As we enjoy this season of hearts and flowers, join us on a quick tour of three of Italy’s most seductive travel destinations: a city, an island, and an ancient forest that all have given birth to unforgettable scents.
Florence: A City to Inspire
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 – and nestled in a region of Tuscany known for its superior wines and breathtaking landscapes.
Some of the most exquisite fragrances and products in the world originate from Florence. That’s why, amid its esteemed art museums (Academia and Uffizi) and the buzz of the grand plazas and Ponte Vecchio, you will find the Museo Villoresi, a museum dedicated to fragrance and a must-see stop on any visit to the city.
The Museo is the brainchild of world renowned perfumer Lorenzo Villoresi, a native of Florence known for his love of exploration and deep curiosity about the cultures, histories, and scents of some of the world’s most romantic and mysterious locales. 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.
His scents are characterized by rich, diverse formulas and extensive use of precious natural ingredients. One of our favorites is the iconic 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. One of Villoresi’s signature scents, its available in home fragrance, soaps, bath and shower gel, eau de toilette, and this must-have gift set.
We’re also in love with his Alamut Scented Crystals, beautiful amber crystals made from vegetable resin that impart an exotic fragrance into any room – an adventurous home fragrance alternative to a candle or diffuser.
Capri: An Island of Haunting Beauty
An island of rocky limestone, jagged coastline, and sandstone cliffs in the Gulf of Napoli, Capri has been a resort destination since the second century BC, when Roman emperors used it as a retreat and playground for what were rumored to be a wild slate of personal pleasures. Today, its natural wonders, medieval fortresses, rustic villas, posh shopping, and rugged coastline make it one of Italy’s most beloved travel destinations.
It’s fitting that an island famed for its beauty would give birth to one of Italy’s most iconic beauty brands: Carthusia. Legend has it that the father prior of the Carthusian Monastery of St. Giacomo on Capri was surprised by an unexpected visit from Queen Joanna I of Anjou in 1380. He scrambled to pick the most beautiful flowers on the island to present her in a bouquet. After the bouquet stood in a vase for three days, the water had taken on a haunting and beautiful fragrance – a scent of wild carnations that became the first perfume of Capri.
Whether this legend is true or not, we know for certain that in 1681, the monastery began distilling local flowers and herbs to create essential oils and fragrance blends. Those same, centuries-old formulas were rediscovered in the 1940s and are used by the Carthusian monks today to continue the tradition of limited-production, finely crafted, hand-produced fragrances of magnificent quality.
Carthusia’s iconic Fiori di Capri derives from the legendary scent of those handpicked wild carnations. Their Mediterraneo is a bewitching combination of fresh lemon and sparkling green tea, reminiscent of the grandeur of Europe, Africa, and Asia of centuries ago. Gelsomini Di Capri has sweet notes of jasmine and is inspired the delicate, sensual aromas of a Mediterranean island. And Uomo for men, with its elegant blend of sea, leather, fruit, and cashmere, is an Italian classic nicely packaged in a red or gold candy box perfect for a Valentine surprise.
The Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise National Park: A Forest in Full Bloom
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. 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.
For Paride Vitale, who grew up in Pescasseroli where the park is headquartered, it was simply a paradise where he and his friends could wander, explore, and ride horses in the woods.
It was on a walk 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. Together, they worked to capture that scent in a bottle with the creation of Parco1923.
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. When you breathe in the aroma from their sophisticated line of soaps, home fragrances, and toiletries, you can close your eyes and feel immersed in that serene and wild corner of old Italy.
Experience these three legendary fragrances, inspired by some of Italy’s most romantic locales, in our Mozzafiato collection: