Sunday, April 17, 2011

Book Arts: Florence, Italy

First off, a small confession: when I visited Florence, Italy, in early April, I was so busy looking all the beautiful things around me (it was my first visit) I didn't spend very much time seeking out bookbinding/book arts related places to visit. So my "Book Arts in Florence" post will be on the short side.

That said, I did visit a wonderful establishment called the Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Sant Maria Novella. It was established in 1221 by Dominican monks, who grew medicinal herbs and used them to create medications and ointments. Here, you can see part of the interior of the pharmacy:

In 1866, a layman took over the pharmacy, and it's now open to the public and has exotic, herb based perfumes, pot-pourri, liqueurs, elixirs and more for sale. There is a small museum about the history of the pharmacy, and it's well worth a visit just for the unbelievably wonderful smells that greet you when you walk in. In one of the museum's display cases, I found a couple of magnificent herbals that had belonged to the monks:

In my rambles around Florence, I also ran across several shops selling handmade journals and marbled papers, but only thought to write down the names of a couple of them:
  • Il Torchio (marbled paper and journals) at Via dei Bardi 17, San Niccolò
  • Zecchi (, Via dello Studio 19r. I did briefly visit Zecchi, which has marbled papers and other art supplies.
If you know of any other interesting book arts related places to visit in Florence, please feel free to suggest them in the comments section for this post, as I (and I'm sure other people) would love to know about them. :)


Carol said...

Barbara, I am toying with the idea of visiting Florence next year so I'm very interested to see your names and addresses. What a great trip it must have been.

moonandhare said...

It really was a wonderful trip. And there's more to come -- I also went to Barcelona on that trip, and found some interesting book arts there, as well, which I'll write about in an upcoming post.