Acqua di Regina: story of the first perfume

What is the composition of the famous perfume from the era of the Renaissance, Acqua di Regina – Santa Maria Novella? We explore how the first perfume was created and who is responsible for it?

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The story of Acqua di Regina

The history of Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella began in 1221. Dominican monks who arrived in Florence founded the pharmacy. They grew medicinal herbs in the monastery garden and made healing balms and essences from them. In 1612 the pharmacy opened to the general public. The glory of monastic medicines spread all around Italy and beyond.

The famous fragrance was called Acqua di Regina (“Queen’s Water”). Dominican the monks created it back in 1533 specifically for the future Queen of France Catherine de Medici. She ordered it to the solemn wedding ceremony with Henry II. The fragrance of the future queen got universal love because it stayed on the skin for so long. It was the first ever time in history when perfumers used alcohol as a base. It was the beginning of the perfume as we know it today.

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The famous formula

After a while the name of the fragrance was changed to Acqua di Santa Maria Novella, however, its formula remained the same. In the composition you can notice the fresh citrus notes of Calabrian bergamot and Sicilian lemon, which are later replaced by the mild aroma of petitgrain, lavender, rosemary and cloves. It is exactly this bouquet that the French liked so much back in 1533 and, believe it or not, it is still popular and available at the boutiques of Santa Maria Novella.

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Tradition and modernity

Now the perfume line has 44 fragrances for men and women. The company uses only natural raw materials through traditional craft methods. Santa Maria Novella preserves ancient recipes, combining them with modern scientific methods and new progressive ideas. Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella sells its products not only in Florence but in the main Italian cities. There are mono-brand stores in France, Spain, England and Russia. In the Middle East in Bahrein, in Far East in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong. Crossing the ocean in the U.S.A., Panama and Australia and also in South Africa.

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What is your favourite perfume?


Text: Irina Gorskaia

Images: Allure, Santa Maria Novella

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2018 Irina Gorskaia

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