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Hints of spring, it is the riot of smell

Winter is about to give way to spring, which is now upon us. With the arrival of summer, the air becomes lighter, longer days and more relaxed faces, while flowers begin to bloom and dress in the best clothes that nature offers them. A real sight and smell, delighted by pleasant and seductive perfumes. Florence in spring offers a postcard show, thanks to incredible works of art to be admired in all their splendor on lovely spring days.

 

The favorite destination of the season is the Officina del Profumo di Santa Maria Novella, which in spring shows itself in all its splendor, thanks to the seasonal products that ensure a riot of delicious fragrances on the nose of each person.

 

 

Officina del Porfumo of Santa Maria Novella, a bit of history

 

Also known as "Pharmacy" and "Antica Spezieria", the Officina del Profumo is located in via della Scala 16, in a portion of the convent of Santa Maria Novella. It is considered the oldest pharmacy in Europe, given its period of uninterrupted activity that has lasted for over four centuries. Its longevity also ranks it among the oldest shops of all time in the world, which is why a stamp celebrating its historicity has been dedicated to it. Already in 1831 we find traces of its existence: in fact, the sale of disinfectant rose water, especially in times of epidemics, by the Dominican friars of Santa Maria Novella, the first owners of the building, is documented. The modern structure dates back to 1612, when the friars also carried out the spice business. In 1866 it became property of the municipality of Florence, before being rented by Cesare Augusto Stefani, whose heirs still manage the business today.

 

 

At the heart of perfumes

 

No longer a pharmacy, today the Officina del Profumo is a perfumery and herbalist's shop, where you can appreciate a rich variety of perfumes. The environment is made suggestive by the considerable amount of decorations and sumptuous furnishings, made in different periods and by the collection of scientific material such as thermometers, mortars, scales, measuring spoons etc., which strongly nourish its charm. The Sales Hall, originally one of the chapels that made up the convent, is a gift that the wealthy florentine Acciaioli family made to the community of Dominican friars of the time. The frescoes found on the cross vault were made by Paolino Sarti and represent the four continents, which are called to represent, in a metaphorical key, the world fame of the Pharmacy and its products. To the right of the Sales Room you enter the Green Room, once used for the reception of special guests, who were served some specialties of the pharmacy, such as Alkermes, China or chocolate, a drink that was then very fashionable. The Antica Spezieria room, once reserved for sale, now houses large quantities of rare and fragrant spices. The vaulted ceiling, built in the eighteenth century, has a rich decoration consisting of fantastic animals, sphinxes, dragons and golden eagles. The Sacristy and ancient production laboratories now used as a museum complete the picture of a unique structure of its kind, where it is possible to experience the explosion of the scent of flowers in spring in an amplified way, thanks to a rich selection that will satisfy all tastes.

 

 

Easter in Florence, where to spend it

 

Sunday 19 April is the day on which Easter is celebrated this year. Florence is undoubtedly a splendid setting where to live the Easter holiday and Easter Monday, thanks to the wonderful works of art of the city, depositories of timeless charm and beauty. The appointment with which the celebration of Easter kicks off is the well-known burst of the wagon, which takes place every Easter Sunday, at around 10 am. Born more than 300 years ago, this tradition sees the so-called "Brindellone" as its absolute protagonist, a 9-meter-high wagon that is pulled by oxen from its warehouse, located in Via Il Prato, to Piazza Duomo. Here, during the mass, around 11, the Archbishop of Florence lights the "Colombina", or a rocket in the shape of a dove (symbol of the Holy Spirit) that reaches the "Brindellone" to set it on fire, thus triggering the fireworks uprights on it. According to tradition, if the "Colombina" returns to the altar, it will be a good omen for a positive and lucky year. The spectacle of the fire of the wagon leaves tourists and Florentines open-mouthed every year, who always respond in large numbers to the rite of the Easter celebration.

 

 

MIDA, the International Craft Exhibition of Florence

 

From the 25th of April to the 1st of May the 84th International Craft Show in Florence will be staged at the Fortezza da Basso, which welcomes many visitors every year. Artisans and artisan enterprises will exhibit their works, imbued with a sense of variety, richness and quality that will well illustrate the dynamics of a sector that is both hereditary and innovative. The exhibition hours are from 10:00 to 22:00. The inauguration is scheduled for Friday 24 April from 15:00 to 22:00.

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