Florence - the birthplace of perfume

Our sense of smell triggers many subconscious instincts in us and is the strongest sense at retrieving memory with the suble power to transport and transform our perception . Little wonder then that perfume and aftershave are one of the most popular gifts for our loved ones and ourselves.

Historically man has always used scents to mask or enhance our own body smell. The ancient Egyptians were the first documented makers of perfume, using oil to steep herbs and bark to extract the essential oils.

The modern version of perfume is widely thought to have originated in France. However, the man who took perfume to Paris was originally from Florence.

 In 1533 Catherine de’Medici, engaged to the king of France, travelled to Paris and took her personal perfumier, Renato Bianco, with her. Renato specialised in making perfume and opened the first ever perfume shop in Paris. He developed fragrances mainly as ‘potions’ to attract love. It was also rumoured that he also sold perfumes and poisons to get rid of unwanted attentions too. This is not unusual – the art of perfume making derives straight from the secret and mysterious world of Alchemy. Renato brought the fashion of perfumed gloves to Paris and this fashion soon spread all over the world making the use of perfume practical and stylish at the same time.

Fragrances are so important that many people have a ‘signature’ perfume or aftershave that they wear all the time. But what could be more romantic and fitting than to have a fragrance personally designed?

Flor Firenze boutique in Florence [Photo credits: Flor Firenze on facebook]
Flor Firenze boutique in Florence [Photo credits: Flor Firenze on facebook]
In 2011 Master Perfumier, Sileno Cheloni, opened the first Atelier in Italy to sell custom made perfume. The shop, in the historical setting of Piazza Santa Croce in Florence, is located in an original medieval Palazzo, is an atmospheric reminder of the historic roots of the art of perfume creation in Tuscany. A custom made perfume from Sileno starts at € 150 for a 50 ml bottle. However, some ingredients are extremely rare and precious, and therefore very expensive so cost depends on what you choose to go into your fragrance. During the process Sileno will create a ‘recipe’ for your perfume which is yours to keep … this is your unique, personal creation. When you need to replace your perfume you simply call Sileno and he will make up your fragrance and send it to you wherever you are in the world.