#TBT: A Visual Romp through the Oldest Pharmacy in the World! 


Stepping through the doors of the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence made me feel as though I had just entered Marie Antoinette’s very large and elaborate boudoir (just as Sofia Coppola would have imagined it in her 2006 feature film “Marie Antoinette”)

Established in 1221 by Dominican monks, who started making herbal remedies and potions for use in the monastery, it first opened its doors to the public in the 17th century.

Once a papal residence, it is truly ornate and spectacular, so much so I stood there transfixed for quite a while trying to take it all in.

There are vaulted ceilings, ornate and gilded frescoes, walnut cabinetry, glass-decanters containing potions, elaborate marble floors, stained-glass windows, and bronze statues.

Many of Santa Maria Novell’s products have become a part of its history.  The pot-pourri is still hand crafted in large terra cotta vats using the same local essences and plants since the 12th century.

The first eau de cologne, aptly named Santa Maria’s Novella was made at the pharmacy in the 1500’s for Catherine de Medici.  The five red balls in the sculpture below signifying the branches of the Medici family.

She then gave bottles to her closest friends; one of them being the Queen of France.  Its popularity in France existed into the 18th century.

There are so many wonderful creams, soaps and waters to choose from, my favorite being the Aetus Saubris Regernative Face Care Collection.

I fell in love with the eau de cologne Angels of Florence, just as much for it’s complex and compelling smell as its name.

If you can’t make the trek to Florence, you can order the products on their website, or visit one of their newer U.S. locations in New York City, Los Angeles, Bal Harbour, FL or Chevy Chase, MD.


Tag along as I share musings on everything from family to business, which will hopefully inspire you and stir the mind. I am happy that you are along for the journey. Here’s to Living Lively!