Guest Writer: Press Office Velar-Elledici Editions


On Friday the 9th of May, 2014 at 9:00 p.m. takes place the book presentation of “Francesco” by Roberto Alborghetti inside the historical rooms of the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence, via della Scala 16. The book talks about the life of Pope Francis. It is the first historical and illustrated biography on the argentine Pope and also the result of unpublished researches and statements useful to know how a “son of emigrants” is became the pastor of the universal Church.

FRANCESCO, copertina ristampaStarting from the information about his original family – retracing the childhood and the adolescence years of the young Jorge Mario – until his religious vocation and cultural education, included the pastoral years in Argentina, the work of Alborghetti accompanied the reader to discover the personality, the responsibility and the mission of the future Pope.

Together with the author during the event participate also the journalist Carmelina Rotundo, the director of Toscana Oggi Mr. Andrea Fagioli, the journalist and writer Riccardo Clementi, the journalist Giuseppe Saponaro, the director of Over the Sky, Mr. Maurizio Martini, and Giuseppe Piani, d.e.i.s.t.a.f.’s researcher of the University of Florence. Moreover the master Giuseppe Tocchetti exposes his opera which is based on the book of Alborghetti.



The enchanting and capturing Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica of Santa Maria Novella is part of Florence history. During the thirteenth century, thanks to a growing economic development, Florence attracted crowds of outcasts in search of work, finding asylum in the city centre; they camped in villages where they were miserable and unhealthy.

They dedicated themselves to support their new mendicant orders. The Franciscans settled east of the city, where they settled in the area of the shops of the dyers and tanners, polluting water and air and where the church of Santa Croce was built, completed during 1800s. The Dominicans settled in the city walls to the north-west: first at the church of San Pancrazio, then in that of Santa Maria delle Vigne, which, in the middle of the fourteenth century, was rebuilt and named the Santa Maria Novella. The Carmelites settled in the south, in a booming area, where workers lived in poor carders and Battilana: Santa Maria del Carmine was consecrated in 1422.

In 2012 Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella celebrated 400 years of uninterrupted business, in the name of tradition and innovation. Raw materials of the highest quality are still used and the apothecary fathers’ artisanal procedures are still followed, yet the company avails itself of modern technology and state of the art equipment Eugenio Alphandery, general manager and co-owner of Officina comments on this:

Given my passion for both antique and modern cars, I could compare this company to a convertible from the 1930’s with hand hammered bodywork crafted by an artisan and a powerful, modern motor, perfect brakes and suspension, all exhalting the car’s beauty and the pleasure of driving it.”

For the occasion major restoration has been undertaken at the historic shop on Via della Scala to restore the ancient pharmacy to its original appearance. This restoration project represents a milestone in Officina’s long history.

Production is now carried out on Liberty style premises on Via Reginaldo Giuliani, in the north of Florence about 3 km from the head office on Via della Scala. All the products are made here with equipment that has been specially designed and custom-built for each specific purpose. Each product has a peculiar story, for example the Cologne and Pot pourri, two of the company’s distinguishing products.