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  1. #1

    Default Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Well, I got married 2 weeks ago and we decided to have our honeymoon in Florence.

    I have to start by saying that Florence, to me, is the home of fragrance. Everything you smell (with the exception of cooking) smells like a fragrance. Even walking through the city, you will pass a grassy area and it will smell fantastic.

    Of course, being in Florence, there were a couple of major stop off points.

    Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. This is simply the best smelling place in the whole world. As you approach on the Via Della Scala you will begin to smell the Farmacia from about 2-3 buildings away. You open the front door into a marble hallway and at that moment I had to stop and just breathe. Im not sure if the scent comes from all the perfumes and ointments or whether it is just ingrained into all the wood. Walking through the hallway you reach the main room. Display cases everywhere full of bottles of different shapes and sizes. I genuinely felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Of course to smell/test anything you have to approach the counter which is manned by very patient sales assistants. I say patient as you get the feeling that they maybe "tolerate" passing (tourist) trade instead of appreciating the custom. Nonetheless they are friendly and helpful, as it is their job. I was also able to get a view of the herb room and some of their "museum" of sorts. One room is just a small library full of books on the history of perfume. Unfortunately, other areas in the building were closed off. Ended up buying a Melograno aftershave and SMN Skin Tonic the first day there. Returned the next day to buy a Melograno Cologne and returned a few other times just to take in the scent and atmosphere.

    Another stop we made was at the Farmacia del Cinghiale on the Piazza del Mecato Nuovo where you can find Il Porcellino (the bronze boar). This wasn't an intentional stop. I had been popping into most farmacias to find what shaving products they had available there. Some of the farmacias do their own line in colognes and here we found some very modestly priced, mainly single note, colognes. Ended up leaving with a bottle of Bergamotto cologne and Ambre cologne. Lovely stuff and very unique as they don't do websales.

    The final place worth mentioning is the Atelier (Studio) Lorenzo Villoresi. Before we left for florence I had been in communication with LV (the house, not the person) about a visit. So I found the address down some back street just south of the Arno (Via di Bardi). The street is no more than a cobble road used for parking scooters and in all honesty, not the type of street you'd feel comfortable walking down on your own at night. A little white sheet of paper greets you saying "Lorenzo Villoresi Firenze, please press the button for the 4th floor" So I pressed and waited....... and waited...... until the cleaner turned up to work and let us in. 4 floors up in an an elevator and a small set of stairs takes you to an old door and inside, you step back in time. The main room you come into has a closed off kitchenette area and has a desk surrounded by shelves and shelves of vials and bottles of oils. Across from there you have the display case. Before even looking at the display case, we were invited by the member of staff there (a female who's name I didn't get, may have been Barbara or Silvia) to have a look around the studio. I entered what I'd imagine were once living quarters and had the feel of an old 70's style living room with piano, chairs, old fashioned reel to reel tape player and a rather large collection of records. We were then asked if we'd like to come up into the main relaxing/seating area. This is the one which can be seen on the LV website with the magnificent view of Florence, north of the Arno. We had our picture taken and were invited to have a look around. After about 10-15 minutes, we got down to business and I started smelling. I bought a new bottle of Uomo and a 50ml bottle of Piper Nigrum and also an Uomo Shaving soap. I was asked how I'd heard about LV and mentioned basenotes. The lady there seemed not to have heard of basenotes. She said that it amazed her that someone from Scotland would have made a point of visiting LV and she was amazed I'd heard of LV let alone that Uomo is probably my favourite all time scent. Myself and my wife were both given some free soap when we were there too. Overall the LV experience was quite a bit shorter than SMN however it was a lot more personal and memorable, not to mention the Studio had no one else there i.e. not overrun with tourists.

    I left Florence with a bittersweet feeling. Sad to be leaving but happy to be going home yet happy that I'd been there.

    Florence has re-awakened my love of fragrances.
    The Large Print Giveth And The Small Print Taketh Away

  2. #2
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Sounds like you had an exciting trip & a wonderful honeymoon, Andy. Congratulations, & thanks for sharing your experiences!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Andy! Major congratulations to you and your new bride. I loved hearing about your trip, you've made me not only want to explore these lines, but explore Italy! That's not what I would have expected from the LV studio, but it sounds really charming. Here in NYC, we have a Santa Maria Novella store that also sells the LV line (which is long overdue for a visit), but nothing compares to your journey. Awesome, thanks for sharing!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congrats Andy, as I told you in another thread I live very close to Florence and agree with what you said about the city. I' ve to admit that you visited awesome places. How do you like The Farmacia Santa Maria Novella? The building is awesome, kind of breathtaking. Next time you plan to visit Florence, feel free to drop me a line and I'll give you a couple more suggestions...
    Last edited by alfarom; 11th June 2011 at 08:08 PM.


    Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here

  5. #5

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congrats on your wedding. Oh Florence how wonderful. I remember when the LV was first released they were so helpful with samples and even when I ordered directly from them(not released in the UK at that time). It was Silvia I dealt with.
    DONNA

  6. #6

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Oh! I love these travel descriptions, and I love hearing about fragrant experiences - so, of course, this was a great read. Thank you!
    And congratulation on your wedding. It sounds like you had a very memorable honeymoon.

  7. #7
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congratulations on your wedding. Florence is indeed a beautiful city, however, I would not consider it the home of fragrance.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congratulations on your wedding, honeymoon and re-awakened love of fragrance. Thank you for your lovely post.
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  9. #9

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Great story and descriptions! Thanks!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congrats and many thanks for the wonderful story about great fragrances and one of the most splendid travel destinations!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Many hearty congratulations on your wedding and gorgeous honeymoon too ! Thanks for sharing Andy
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Andy, what a nice story to relate! Many good wishes on your marriage and scented re-awakening.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    congratulations

    but


    for swap/sale:





  14. #14

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Hi Andy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your travels. Cheers, ody
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  15. #15

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Congratulations, Andy! Many thanks for sharing your olfactory adventures in Florence with us.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Thanks Andy for that evocative post. Would love to visit Florence to experience that 'fragrance heaven'. I agree with hedonist222. Pictures would be fantastic. Maybe put them up in a blog.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    To all those shouting for pics

    Me and the Mrs in Villoresi


    And me in front of the Cologne cabinet at SMN
    The Large Print Giveth And The Small Print Taketh Away

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Awwwwww just wonderful... You two look so glowingly happy!! Congratulations again.

    and I want a cabinet like THAT one!!!
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  19. #19

    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Brilliant Andy.
    Loved your write-up. What a great trip...
    All the best....
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Florence, and rediscovering my love for scent

    Awesome report - and love the pics, too!
    * * * *

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