Simply off Florence’s Piazza Santa Maria Novella, the place a church of the identical title has stood since 1360, sits one other cathedral of types. It could not appear like it from the surface however inside, it is actually a factor of magnificence.

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“It is simply superb. It seems to be prefer it’s a part of the church,” mentioned one visiting American. “There are stunning statues and murals, all the gorgeous smells, simply fabulous magnificence.”

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Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is regarded as the oldest apothecary on the earth, stories host Jane Pauley.

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The counter on the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence. 

CBS Information

Pharmacy director Gianluca Foa says it dates again to 1221, when its Dominican monks right here started experimenting with alchemy. 

A century later they got here up with a product constituted of roses they hoped would defeat the Nice Plague, which killed an estimated 60% of Europe.

“They thought that distilling these petals, they might create an antiseptic used to combat the plague,” mentioned Foa. “However after all, it did not work.”

But it surely did work as a magnificence product – rose water – which has been used as a face tonic for the previous 800 years.

Florence’s Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy.

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The pharmacy’s custom of innovation did not cease there. The monks have been the primary to make use of alcohol in fragrance; they created a liqueur to assist numb ache in childbirth, and fragrant vinegar. “That is used to stop faintings,” mentioned Foa. “It is very robust!”

At this time, Santa Maria Novella’s backyard produces vegetation and flowers utilized in merchandise nonetheless made by hand, simply as they have been two or three centuries in the past.

And greater than 2,000 folks a day come to breath all of it in.

And if clients want a drink after buying, effectively, they needn’t look far; Santa Maria Novella’s historical liqueurs are actually used at upscale cocktail spots, like Florence’s Resort Savoy.

“They’re superb for cocktails, as a result of they’re elixir,” mentioned the bartender. “Elixir, it means one thing actually pure.”

Historical past and hipness co-exist in a metropolis that defines magnificence.  

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Story produced by Jon Carras.

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