Three unique tours to get to know the high-quality craft
Florence, city of perfume: a tour to discover the art of perfumery
Marta Mancini
by Marta Mancini /en/authors/marta-mancini/

Florence has always been known as the city of the lily (giglio) as well as being the birthplace of the Renaissance. But there is so much more to it than that. Putting the museums, galleries and monuments to one side for a moment, let’s explore the city’s treasures of artistic crafts. It’s possible that not everyone knows this, but in the past Florence earned the title of perfume capital. Let’s discover the city of Florence and its hinterland through an unusual tour which takes us to 17 historical perfumeries.

Perfumeries and much more, we have brought together shops, pharmacies, drugstores and herbalists to create three unique tours: a way to get to know an old tradition up close, to see how the craftsmen work and live in their own special way.

The art of Florentine perfumery actually began with Renaissance courts and noblemen; but it was because of Catherine de’ Medici that Florence became the perfume capital. Since then, the city has always been a leader in this sphere and is consistently more specialised in research and experimentation.

La Corte dei Profumi

The first tour, called “La Corte dei Profumi” (the Court of Perfumes), begins in via Ghibellina, at the Antica Erboristeria San Simone, opened in 1700, one of the oldest and most traditional workshops in the city. In via Vacchereccia we find the Speziere di Palazzo Vecchio, a place where they’ve made fine, high-quality products in an artisanal style for two generations, paying close attention to the ingredients. We continue to via Calzaiuoli to breath in the perfumes of the Tuscan Archipelago thanks to the fragrances from Acqua dell’Elba. In via Tornabuoni we find the historic Officina de’ Tornabuoni; in via della Spada, there is the Antica Officina del Dottor Vranjes. Next we go to via Fanza where the Erboristeria Gremoni has been developing its historical methods since 1716. We finish this journey of the Corte dei Profumi just a little outside of Florence, in via Volta in Calenzano, at Beatrice Bernocchi’s laboratory of artistic perfumes, Bbfragrance.

Custom-made perfume

The second tour is called “custom-made perfume. We start in Grassina, at the gates of Florence, with the Mary Anny Florence laboratory. We then move to the city, specifically to Piazza Beccaria, where innovative perfumes and fragrances are created in Mirko Buffini Firenze. Entering Borgo La Croce, we visit the Antica Officina del Dottor Vranjes. Straight after, in via Pietrapia, we will come across L’Óprofumo®, where they think outside the box to offer innovative perfumes and fragrances. We continue our journey and get to the area around the lively Sant’Ambrogio Market, in via dei Macci, in an internal courtyard: here, hidden like a tiny gem, we will discover Arômantique, a treasure trove of perfumes, smells and fragrances that make you feel good. Next, we go to Borgo Santa Croce to explore the Profumeria Aquaflor Firenze and its adjacent laboratories. We finish this tour in via della Condotta, in the apothecary of ancient aromas led by Dott. Massimo Bizarri, a reference point for every alchemist and specialist in Florence.

The art of apothecarists

The third tour, “The art of apothecarists,”allows us to get to know the artistic creations of ARS Angela Raveggi, Divina Essentia, and the Stabilimento Chimico Farmaceutico Militare, which, in addition to the production of drugs and medical products, sells food and cosmetics. Going over to via de’ Servi, we learn about another historical place in Florence, the Farmacia SS. Annunziata which has created their extraordinary products since 1561, using the most authentic methods in the art of apothecaries. We continue walking until we arrive in piazza San Giovanni and go into the shop Acqua dell’Elba, succumbing to the intoxicating aromas and perfume of herbs from Elba Island. We end our tour in via San Gallo, taking in the multiple fragrances of the Antica Officina del Dottor Vranjes.

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