S. Maria Novella


The Staff’s January Favorite:
S. Maria Novella

Have you heard of S. Maria Novella?  I find their story to be incredibly fascinating and so does our entire Bebe’s staff.  It’s one with much history and pageantry.  The official name of the brand itself is – “OFFICINA PROFUMO-FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA”  I thought you might like to read the info about how it was started in the 1200’s.  This is an excerpt from the S. Maria Novella site.

“The first stage of existence of the “Officina” can be traced back to the 1221 when the Domenican friars, arriving in Florence, built their monastery just outside the city gate. Shortly afterwards they began to study and experiment the properties of officinal herbs grown in their gardens next to the monastery. The preparations obtained in this way ( medicaments, balms and ointments) were at first intended for the monastery’s small infirmary, used to keep the friars and other members of the community in good health.

In 1612 the monk Fra Angiolo Marchissi opened the pharmacy to the public, earning in this way, from the Grand Duke of Tuscany who had taken note of “such apothecary talent” the right for the dispensary to bear the honorable title o “His Royal Highness’s firm”. So the Domenicans officially started their commercial activity selling their curative and ephemeral products directly. Thus the Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella (Perfume and Pharmaceutical Oficine of Holy Mary Novella) was born with an emblematic name that gave precedence to perfume or the ephemeral rather than the curative aspect of more spiritual inspiration, the medicinal or pharmaceutical. In any case this seemed to have been the shrewd move, if it is true that the first “testimonial” of the Dominican brand was Caterina de’ Medici, the Florentine noblewoman who was crowned Queen of France for whom the friars created the essence that was known as Acqua della Regina – Water of the Queen, today named Water of Santa Maria Novella.

During the 18th century, the fame of the products and formulas developed by the friars spread far and wide reaching Russia, India and China. In 1886 after the confiscation of the Church’ property by the State, for the first time the control passed in the hands of a layman, Cesare Augusto Stefani, nephew of the last Dominican friar who had been the Director of the Officina.”

Pretty neat, huh?  Over the years S. Maria Novella has refined the list of stores that carry their products all over the world – and Bebe’s is lucky enough to have made that list.  WOOT!  Their products (and scents) are second to none.

The brand is completely unisex and can be purchased for your friend, pal, loved one or family member.   St. Valentine thinks St. Maria Novella is also a great gift for his day of love!

Je t’embrasse, Bebe’s

(With love, Bebe’s) 

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