Caterina dei Medici , bride of Henry II King of France, was a woman who loved luxury and refinement, and at the French court she made it customary to use perfume for the person and for rooms, a practice that was already in use in Florence by both the court and the city nobility.
Renato Bianco, whom the French renamed René le Florentin, her trusted master perfumer, designed for her the marvelous fragrant pomegranates, sphere-shaped jewelry creations containing solid perfumes, to be worn around the neck, on the belt or used as room diffusers. Soon the use of these scented boules spread throughout Italy and abroad. The inventiveness and technical skills of Renato Bianco were picked up by the French, who became masters in the art of perfumery.
Testifying to the centuries-long importance of the Art of the Medicians and the Apothecaries in the economic and cultural fabric of the city, Florence has dedicated to this guild one of the streets in the historic center where, since the Middle Ages, numerous warehouses had stood to supply the apothecaries with their preparations.
Via degli Speziali is located on the ancient Roman decumanus of Florentia and overlooks the site where the Mercato Vecchio, today's Piazza della Repubblica, once stood. Perfumes, essences, aromatic oils and beauty treatments were all part of the preparations of the Speziale, who, using medicinal and aromatic herbs and flowers, put into practice the expertise and experience handed down from generation to generation.
The ancient Florentine tradition continues to be alive and transmitted to this day with the flourishing of activities that operate, using research and innovation, in the perfumery and cosmetics sector.
In today's world, body care takes on central importance in the affirmation of personality and at the same time gives those who practice it well-being and psycho-physical relaxation. Perfumery and cosmetics have, since the early 1900s, been increasingly popular, to the point of conquering an ever-widening public.
Today, alongside the big brands, there are highly prestigious artisan perfumeries that offer customers customized and, in any case, high quality products created with innovative technologies and according to the principles of natural cosmetics. Professionalism, imagination, careful selection of raw materials and production technologies are the distinctive factors that make the product unique, capable of conveying pleasant sensations and well-being.
A 'perfumed' visit is to the Rose Garden, below Piazzale Michelangelo, where many varieties of roses, including ancient ones, are cultivated and from which you can admire unique views of the city.
The Medici family was responsible for the design of the Boboli Gardens an Italian garden of rare architectural and landscape elegance, for the design of which artists such as Vasari, Ammannati and Buontalenti were employed. Near the Boboli Garden, using the exit at Forte Belvedere, it is possible to visit the Villa Bardini Garden. A careful restoration, which lasted five years, offers visitors an itinerary that shows the development and transformation of the garden over time and a unique view of the historic centre of Florence.
A visit to the Botanical Garden, the Orto dei Semplici, also created by the de' Medici family in 1545 as a garden of officinal plants, known as semplici, can reveal to enthusiasts the centrality of the sector in Florence.
The Iris Garden, below Piazzale Michelangelo, is another place to visit; it was created in 1954 to host an annual international competition for the best varieties of irises, the flower of Florence.
This itinerary is part of the European project Crafts Code.
Viale Michelangiolo, 82, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
Giardino delle Rose, Viale Giuseppe Poggi, 2, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
Via de' Bardi, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
Giardino di Boboli, Piazza de' Pitti, 1, 50125 Firenze FI, Italia
via del Filarete 10
Farmacia dei Monaci San Miniato al Monte
via dei Tornabuoni 19N
Via Faenza 101/r 50123 Firenze
Via dei Servi 80r, Firenze
Via Pier Antonio Micheli, 3, 50121 Firenze FI, Italia
via Guglielmo Marconi 96R
via dei Macci 41
Borgo Santa Croce 6