Photograph by angelocesare
How many pharmacies can claim frescoed ceilings and whispering shoppers? Only the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella in the former chapel belonging to the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.
Since the 15th century, this herbalist and pharmacy has collected a faithful following of jet setters and average Florentines who fancy luxurious soaps, perfumes, pomades, and ancient infusions. Our top picks include Pasta di Manorle, a sweet almond hand cream perfected by the Monks, and a magic blend of handmade organic potpourri.
Good luck finding these rarities outside of Florence. If you do manage to do so, prices are double or triple what you pay in the original Pharmacy of Santa Maria Novella. Although not quite as cheap as the items on offer at the corner Boots or Duane Reade, these 600 year-old potions a relative bargain when purchased on site.
The pharmacy is located a stone’s throw from the Santa Maria Church on Via della Scala.