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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sixth day in Italy - travel day - Arts and Archives 2015

 View of Florence from our hotel roof

Saturday morning we left Napoli and after the 2.5 hr train ride to the north arrived in Florence.
Our tour for the day was the museum of Officina Profumo – Pharmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella led by Mr. Pierandrea Baglioni. This Pharmacy was established by the Dominican monks in 1221 shortly after they arrived in Florence.  Almost four hundred years later, in 1612 the pharmacy was opened to the public. The development of the pharmaceutical workshop in Santa Maria Novella was supported by the strong political links between the Medici family  and the Florentine Dominican Order, and later by the establishment of Accademia del Cimento, the first European scientific society founded in 1657. In 1866 the pharmacy became a state owned enterprise but was then transferred to the nephew of the last monastic director whose family still owns the pharmacy. 
Today the pharmacy is continuing the production of ancient preparations including the Acqua della Regina, essence that was specifically created for Caterina de Medici (Queen of France after marrying Henry II). Eau de Cologne also originates in this Florentine convent.


Afterwards most of us climbed 414 steps up Giotto’s bell tower. The bell tower of the Florence Cathedral that opened in 1359 is 85 meters high and gives a breathtaking view of the city of Florence. See pictures from our sixth day in Italy by clicking here.

One of the frescoes from the Pharmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella Sacristy which since the 17th century has been used as a storage room.  The sacristy belonged to the former Chapel of San Niccolo.

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