This mixture of buds, leaves and flower petals is typical of the Tuscan hills and emanates Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella’s singular, traditional fragrance.
Santa Maria Novella began producing pot pourri in the middle of the 17th century. It is a mixture of berries, leaves and petals of flowers typical of the Florentine hills. Until a few years ago the pot-pourri (from the French “rotten vase”) was placed in terracotta pots from Impruneta together with the essences obtained from distilling certain of its ingredients. The wooden cover of the pots was hermetically sealed with chalk and the contents left to steep for months. Today, in order to obtain a more homogeneous product, machinery has been designed that makes it possible to monitor the product guaranteeing a very high quality. It consists of two large barrels which alternate rotating in two directions 24 hours a day. Inside, under conditions of controlled temperature, flowers, leaves and berries are constantly sprinkled with essences through water vapour nebulisers.
Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It is also the first great basilica in Florence and is the city’s principal Dominican church and was consecrated in 1420. The story began with cultivating and growing herbs which they needed to prepare medications, balms and creams for the monastery’s infirmary. In 1612 when their products gained renown, it was decided that the pharmacy should open to the public.
A unique potpourri
This is a very unique smelling potpourri. Most potpourris tend to smell powdery and floral but this is completely different. The scent is herbal and spicy, almost medicinal.