The “Antica Spezieria di Santa Maria Novella”, today “Officina profumo-farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella”, is an ancient pharmacy located in Florence (Via della Scala, 16). It is located in an ancient monastery of Dominican Friars, near the Church of Santa Maria Novella. The Pharmacy first opened to the public in 1612 by the Main Friar Angiolo Marchisi, however we have evidence that its activity started in the late 12th century. With time the celebrity of its products grew, crossing the national frontier and becoming famous all over Europe.
“New” entrance, since 1800.
Sales room – Perfumery
At the end of 16th century the rooms of antique Chapel San Niccolò di Bari, destroyed by fire, were added to activity. Today it's used as Perfumery and sales room. The ceiling fresco by the middle of the 17th shows four ladies representing the four continents (they may symbolize the celebrity of the Pharmacy all over the world).
Green Room (Infusion's shop room)
You can see wall hanging portraits of the Main Friars since 1612.
On the left, the door of the present Herbalist's shop and you can observe the mark of Dominican Monks.
On the other side, the door of the museum and the Sacristy.
Once the only room of the Pharmacy, today it's used as Herbalist's shop. It still has the original entrance from the Main Courtyard. The room was richly stuccated during the 16th century, because it was the only room allocated to receive costumers. At the top it's possible to see a special window from where the Main Friar could easily observe directly from his office the costumers and the other friars at work. The antique stands contain the original glasses of the Pharmacy, historical scientific instruments (thermometers, mortars, scales, etc.) and obviously the Pharmacy's products.
This room, richly decorated during the late 12th with frescoes representing “The Passion of Christ”, was used by the friars as place to allow to settle the waters (very important for the Pharmacy's production) because of its cool and even temperature.
Shown here, are the machines and instruments that were used up until 1999 for the production of the pharmacy and perfumery goods.
Former storehouse of the Pharmacy, this room is today used as exposition room of the antique original terra-cotta apothecary jars. Domincan monks used this pottery as container for natural oils and ointments.
- Photos by Gian Filippo Barneschi (December 2013), courtesy of "Officina profumo-farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella Spa"
- Locate the item on this Google Map