I am drawn to mystery. Some of the reasons I love Florence are the many streets to explore or palazzo courtyards to see or shops to enter because they draw you in with a sense of intrigue. Aqua Flor combines all of these – an intriguing perfumery set within a beautiful palazzo full of perfume products crafted with passion, a space to be seen and smelt.

We have five senses and for a good reason. At Aqua Flor it’s not only your sense of smell that is tantalised, but your vision is also drawn in as well. The store harks back to a bygone era of Florence set in an antique 16th-century palazzo in the Santa Croce district, space is made up of three rooms on the ground floor. Beneath glorious arched ceilings, large wooden cabinets contain rows of brown glass bottles filled with botanical ingredients while orange light fixtures add ambience to the rooms that weave around a discreet inner courtyard. Inspired by traditions of botanic extraction from the Renaissance period of the city's history - as far back as the Medici times scientists were curious on how to extract scents from plants - perfume is made by scent master, Nicola Bianchi. 

Aqua Flor’s philosophy is not to be a commercial industry, rather use rare and sophisticated materials to create a small number of scents for clients to enjoy. Over 1500 ingredients are used to create such masterpieces. Within the palazzo basement is a laboratory where new perfume concepts and individual bottles for clients are developed - Aqua Flor can create a bespoke perfume just for you should you desire a truly unique scent. Beyond perfumes, colognes, soaps, creams, candles and fragrant salts are also on sale.

Photo credit: David Andre Weiss