One of my absolute favorite places to visit, shop and eat at in Florence, Italy is the renowned Officina Profumo Farmaceutica Santa Maria Novella. This beautiful church/shop/mecca-of-beauty and health was started in 1381 by a group of Dominican monks. They began by selling a special rose water used as a disinfectant. That led to the evolution of one of the most respected pharmacies in the region. Today, people from around the world visit the frescoed and gilded building to shop for skincare products, health remedies and to eat at Santa Maria Novella’s fabulous cafe which offers homemade pastries and house-blended teas. You can sit amongst paintings by famous Florentine artists and enjoy Italian cookies with your cinnamon and vanilla green tea. This is a MUST for anyone visiting the Tuscan capital. It’s my absolute favorite.
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