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The Officina Farmacia Santa Maria Novella isn’t a secret but the Florentine landmark and the world’s oldest apothecary has plenty of secrets to share. Founded in 1221 by Dominican monks who grew and harvested flowers, herbs and spices in the garden of the cloister of Basilica of Santa Maria Novella to make balms, salves and medicines for their infirmary.
In this episode of Ciao Bella podcast, we explore the history of Italy’s oldest (and still functioning) apothecary, explore its Tuscan gardens and learn about today’s products.
Santa Maria Novella follows the same formulas and packages its balms, salves, soaps, perfumes, creams, sprays, elixirs and more in vintage packaging, but the 21st century mixes tradition with technology. With over 60 outposts around the world, the local Florentine heritage brand is invested in locally sourcing ingredients and producing on site. In this podcast, I visit the historic cloister and then head to the new gardens where all their ingredients are sourced.
In This Episode
[00:46] Monks and Thieves, the History of Santa Maria Novella
[03:00] Secrets and Scents
[06:13] Catherine de’ Medici
[09:03] From Monks to the Public
[13:19] Connection with Florence
[17:12] The 21st Century
[21:46] Human Touch
[25:29] Tradition and Technology
[31:07] Top-selling Products