Italy  2011

June 11, 2011 Saturday

Our tour in this central area of Tuscany is nearly at its end; but we go back to Florence as this city has so much to offer that it is certainly worth another visit. We meet & Greet with an English-speaking guide. This day was perfect weather wise…thank goodness!

We begin our day with is a visit to the Museo dell’Accademia to see Michelangelo’s masterpiece “DAVID”.
Thank goodness I had taken pictures of inside the museum on an earlier tour as you cannot take pictures now. Such a shame but they want people to buy the books, so what can I say. I did manage to take some pictures in the gift shop so that is all you see.

We continue with a visit to the Santa Maria Novella Church then on to visit the ANTICA OFFICINA SANTA MARIA NOVELLA, one of the world’s oldest pharmacies dating back to 1221 with a history linked both to the church and to the monastery. In 1381 is was documented as the Dominicans of Santa Maria Novella selling rose water as a disinfectant, used especially during epidemics. The monks grew medicinal plants (the simple, named after the Garden of Simple ) in a garden adjoining, distilled from herbs and flowers, prepared essences, elixirs, ointments, balms. The current perfumery dates back to 1612 when they still carried on the activity of pharmacy. Renowned throughout Europe, received by Grand Duke Ferdinando II de 'Medici, the title of Her Royal Highness Foundry in 1659 , under the direction of Fra 'Angiolo Marchissi. This was a very popular place, it seemed filled with locals getting their products. The frescos in the little chapel were so beautiful, hard to imagine they have survived this long and are in such good shape. You could not use flash but I did manage to give you a bit of an idea of how exquisite they are.

We then had free time to continue our shopping and shopping we did! Then we all met back at the Piassa dell Signoria (which by the way is where the second David is with the third and original being at the Museum) I had heard that the Museum David was developing slight cracks as the ankle and you could see where they were monitoring that – he may be removed to be worked on)

In the afternoon we have another interesting visit in Lucca: the small creative studio of Sileno Cheloni, a perfumer who creates exclusive and high quality fragrances which express the heart of the heritage of the magical Tuscany. The inspiration for his perfumes comes in fact for instance from the olfactory explosion of the Mediterranean flora: Juniper, Chamomile, Cisto Marino, Pinetree, Wild Roses etc....the ‘Casa di Profumeria sits in the beautiful walled city of Lucca Tuscany where clientele are invited to sample the wonderful scents created by perfumer Sileno Cheloni, apart from his hugely successful be-spoke service,
customers also now have the opportunity to purchase from their two new perfume ranges, each with its own distinctive character and message, that are sure to excite your senses, provoke emotion and lead you into a wonderful world of Pura Toscana.’

Our visit here was a lot of fun as we had the pleasure of being educated by Sileno Cheloni himself. He explained some of the ingredients used and let us smell them as well. The most expensive being Iris at 150,000 euros per kilo. I believe that is the bottle he is holding. For Sileno to produce a fragrance for a person he can work about an hour with the different essences and then he must rest his nose. It can take an hour for a basic scent of 4 to 5 ingredients to months for more complex or very specific scents. A scent should only be smelled on you, it should not be something that people can smell yards off meeting you. Most people today do not know this and spray so much perfume on them that it reeks. When someone comes up to you to kiss you, that is when they should smell your fragrance. Creating your own perfume is a journey of discovery to find out what kind of person you are. He is not there to just sell, he is passionate about this and you can tell by the way he talks. Creating a perfume is about connecting you to who you are. We were spell bound.

One of the ladies on the tour had perfume made just for her and she was thrilled. You do have to make an appointment to have this done.

After this we were off again to finish our shopping. Florence has great shopping. There is a market that I had been to on prior trips that I sent a bunch off to and they came back very happy. All kinds of leather goods, clothing, souvenirs, etc and what I like about this market is 90 percent is made in Italy.



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