Arabian Jasmine, Iris, Bizzarria and Magnolia. Four specific varieties of flowers and plants inextricably linked to the history of Florence and the Medici family are now revived in a new Eau de Parfum collection. It is called I Giardini Medicei (The Medici Gardens) and it is one of the novelties launched by the ancient pharmacy and perfumier Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, ahead of the Pitti Uomo event in Florence, to pay homage to a story that is also botanical and rediscovered recently in the Secret Garden of the Villa Medicea di Castello in Florence, which in 1668 was used to grow the extremely rare Arabian jasmine. Indeed, the relationship between the centuries-old perfumery brand, operating since 1221, and this iconic historical and cultural heritage site for botanists and essentialists goes way back.
Indeed, the relationship between the centuries-old perfumery brand, operating since 1221, and this iconic historical and cultural heritage site for botanists and essentialists goes way back.
Dating back to the 14th century and situated on the foothills outside Florence, the Villa di Castello has a long history closely linked to the Medici family, which purchased it in 1477 and transformed it into one of the most majestic residences in the city of Florence. This place filled with wonders came together with the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella a century later, when the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III fell in love with jasmine.
A rare Indian variety from Goa, given to him in 1688 by the King of Portugal, so intoxicated the Grand Duke's that he had a special tepidarium built in the villa's Secret Garden. The cultivation of the Arabian jasmine, still today known as “the Grand Duke’s”, was in fact forbidden to anyone who was not explicitly authorized by Cosimo himself.
The tepidarium was designed to create a warm climate favorable for the growth of this precious flower: hence the name it was given, Stufa dei Mugherini (literally Jasmine Heater). And it is precisely in homage to this extraordinary page in the history of Florence that the Officina announced its the restoration of the Secret Garden, including the façade of the Stufa dei Mugherini and its sculptural elements.
A unique location in terms of tradition, history and scents, which the Officina now wishes to restore to its former glory. For it is precisely places like this–gardens in which botanical experts passionately cultivated plants and herbs in a rainbow of colors and with heady scents–that have produced, and continue to produce, the essences that have made the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella an internationally famous institution.
A unique location in terms of tradition, history and scents, which the Officina now wishes to restore to its former glory
Again in homage to its history but also with one eye on the future, the Officina–since 2021 owned by Italmobiliare (a Milan-based company led by the Pesenti dynasty of entrepreneurs)–has also inaugurated in its museum the installation Blooming in Paradise (open until November 12) by Felice Limosani, conceived as a continuously flowering heavenly and sensory experience.
“The idea,” the artist explained, “comes from the title, which evokes a sense of blossoming in a sublime dimension. To bloom does not only mean to blossom, but in a figurative sense, it also represents regeneration, growth, renewal. A visual metaphor that does not refer to theological or spiritual paradise but to a heavenly, harmonious, idyllic dimension. The combination of the two concepts symbolically refers to the magnificence of nature, to our role in caring for and preserving it, and the unbreakable bond that unites humanity with the kingdom of flowers without which biodiversity and life would be compromised.”
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