In any Medieval monastery one of the most important buildings, after the church, was the Infirmary and its garden. Santa Maria Novella in Firenze was no exception. At its foundation in 1221 the aches and pains of the monks were well seen to. By 1612 the farmacia had opened its doors to the public and Florintines flocked to buy the monks' salves, syrups, remedies and beauty potions.
The Cloister has seen many changes since its foundation - now a small part serves as a museum and the greater part is a training school for the Carabinari. However tucked in off a side street is the entrance to the old Faramcia which has been active, in one form or another, since those early monks ground mallow root and steeped lovage. My friend Simonetta remembers when her mother and grandmother bought all their toilet waters and beauty needs from the Officina Profumo-Parmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. So nothing would do but that we stroll down Via della Scala with her for a look.
13 marzo - San Salomone