Friday, January 30, 2009

Santa Maria Novella

I splurged a bit this week. I ordered 90 grams of fancy Italian potpourri that came straight to me from Florence!

It arrived with beautiful parchment onto which there was written (in ornate script) all the many other items I might be interested in ordering, along with a history of the company.

Named after Our Blessed Mother by being called "Santa Maria Novella," this sweet little herbal apothecary was started by the Dominican Friars in the 1200's. But they won't tell of the secret ingredients that comprise their lovely-scented potpourri! :-)

Their perfumes were worn by royalty like the Queen of France in the 13th century, and by the mid-1800s, there became--among the wealthy--a world-wide demand for their scents.

Even today, special pharmacies will carry the historical Santa Maria Novella name by selling products still made from traditional formulas. Rose water (made from rose petals and distilled water) is still very popular, as is the herbal Balsamedic Savaluens, which was known in the 1800's as "anti-hysteria water" for its calming properties.

I even learned that their fancy bar soaps are made from natural milk which needs to be aged, like cheese. After the bars are made, they sit for 2 months before they are individually hand-wrapped in paper. Wow!

So here's to a sweet-smelling apartment! :-)