The Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, which is located in Via della Scala number 16, around the corner from Piazza Santa Maria Novella, is one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe.It dates back to mediaeval times, to 1221. In the 1380s the Dominicans prepared the famous rose water in the convent where the Profumeria is located. It was used as disinfectant. In the 1500s many of the creams and lotions, and in particular the rose water, were prepared specifically for Caterina de’ Medici. The Officina became an official pharmacy in 1612, and still today the high-quality product line is prepared from medicinal plants, herbs and such natural ingredients as almonds and lemon by using the original formulas. The products range from heavily scented potpourri to Acqua di Rose, soaps, bubble baths and a variety of creams (facial, hand, body lotions) to herbal teas and candles.
The main salesroom is still located in Florence while other shops have been opened in Rome, Milan, New York, Paris, London and Tokyo. The convent’s frescoed library is worth a visit like the backroom where you can take a peek at the Santa Maria Novella frescoed cloister.