Sunday, January 6, 2013

Heaven Scent Gifts for Epiphany


  
I've never been one to use home fragrances, scented candles, colognes or any kind of scented body products but after receiving a few gifts from Santa Maria Novella, I had an epiphany.
These products are in another league.


 via
The Shop at the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella

Founded in 1221, Franciscan friars began making herbal remedies and potions to use in the monestery.  Their reputation became world renowned and they opened to the public in 1612.




Their Carta D'Armenia, incense papers scented with frankincense and myrrh, will remove odors and freshen up your house or manger in two shakes of a lambs tail. Simply take one paper, fold into an accordion shape, light one end and blow out flame. They burn for approximately 5 minutes and are said to remove odors, staleness, dampness or mold and cooking odors. Carta D'Armenia  papers can also be placed directly in drawers or closets. 


From the Santa Maria Novella website:

"Once you've been enveloped by the magic scent of Santa Maria Novella's pot pourri, you'll understand why generations of captivated followers flock to Florence to stock up. Scrupulously handmade using ancient methods, this incredibly long-lasting, beautifully fragrant potpourri is a full-bodied blend of herbs and flowers (a secret formula), all grown without pesticides in the Florentine hills...Each batch is collected by hand, then soaked in essence in enormous, centuries-old earthenware jars, sealed with wax, then aged for several months, and carefully packaged as it has been for centuries.  All ingredients are 100% organic and pesticide free."




Potpourri can be placed anywhere in a small bowl or one
of the company's signature dishes or ornaments. 

Santa Maria Novella products are a splurge but so much nicer than your
average grocery store plug-ins or scented candles.






Even if a few gifts aren't in your budget today, browsing through their product descriptions online, is highly entertaining.  Check out the descriptions of their Ancient Preparations.  
Check out their entire line of Home Fragrances and Products for Dogs and Cats.

If the Magi were arriving in Bethlehem today, I'm sure they'd be bearing gifts from Santa Maria Novella.  They're truly heaven scent.

49 comments:

  1. Steve, How interesting. I'm not one for leaving potpourri laying around, but I like the idea of the ornament and the incense paper. It sounds perfect for the winter home when rooms can become stuffy and odors can linger. I am hopping over to check it out. I always need something heaven sent and scented. Have a wonderful Sunday. Bonnie

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    1. I'm with you, Bonnie. I've never used these kinds of things either but I'm enjoying it while the house is closed up for the winter. It's hard for me to identify any particular scents from the potpourri but it's a little pungent like eucalyptus and I can some spices like pepper and some rose buds although it's not at all flowery.

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  2. Fascinating! I love your play on words in the title, and what a perfect subject for today, Epiphany. You're right, the products are pricey, but so very interesting. I am especially drawn to the product line for dogs, and in particular, the mouthwash gel, which our dog Phoebe desperately needs. If it really works, it would be worth the $22 price tag!
    Claudia

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    1. I found the pet products interesting. I'm not sure how cats especially would like having scents put on them. Let me know if you try them.

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  3. Hi Steve, I am a huge fan! I have the pot pourri in two different places in the house, the 'relax' candle by my bedside, the lavender wax tablets in the closets (and I also use the scented cards), and I burn the Carta D'Armenia after my husband has cooked something particularly 'aromatic.' It truly works. Do I sound obsessed? I am. Hope you are well!
    xo,
    Phyllis

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  4. Eiphanny drew me in . . . a subtle fragrance like their sandalwood . . . tempts me. I will save some pennies and try . . .

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  5. Hello Steve and thank you so much for this link. I am intrigued by the incense paper and the potpourri. Wonderful that the products and organic and made using age old techniques.

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  6. We have one of the hand painted jars of potpourri. It was a gift from a friend who had been living in Florence.

    Every time I take off the lid I had transported back centuries.

    Heavenly and celestial.

    I'm off to go lift the lid.

    xo Jane

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  7. I have a weakness for products made by monks. There is a most amazing monastary un upstate NY that makes bread. I also love scented soaps (not sweet, but citrus or pine or spice) and have a weakness for perfume. I've never found a potpourri that you can actually smell, but these are intriguing. When I was a teenager in CA I made dog flea collars from eucalyptus seed pods and sold them to a health food store.

    I'm off to visit their website.

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  8. The carta d'armenia incense papers sound very interesting! I could put a few in some of my antique dressers. Usually leaving the drawers open will air out any mustiness, but the incense papers are so discreet and civilized. We are lucky to have a Santa Maria Novella shop near our neighborhood....will check it out.

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  9. I couldn't agree more about cheap scents - I want to hold my breath when I pass a candle shop! I will track down Santa Maria Novella to get a good sniff.

    Currently I use simple cedar oil in a spray bottle - since my walls are wood I spray them near doorways, especially in winter when flinging open doors is less of an option. I would love to try the incense papers though.

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  10. I'll be looking into this. I love fine home fragrances. We generally don't have problems with smelly mangers in my neighborhood but occasionally the lingering odor dinner is unwelcome. Glad you had this Epiphany.

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  11. These sound heavenly. I love the paper that is burned - I could use that here!

    xo
    Claudia

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  12. Hi Steve, I've heard people RAVE about S.M. Novella before but have never tried them. I definitely need some freshening up in the manger. What a lovely gift to receive (you have good friends)! P.S. My birthday is in March. xo Terri

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  13. I agree with you that the inexpensive store-bought fragrances don't cut it. So much better to have natural scents in the house. I ocassionally boil cinnamon sticks and let them steep. It's not quite Santa Maria Novella, but it does the trick.

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  14. I have a collection of resin incense, Trappist, Guatemalan Copal, Pinon - they're wonderful smells, if you can get past a little smoke.
    -Revi

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  15. Dear Steve,
    Thank you for the tip about the Santa Maria Novella products. I’m going to try the pot pourri. It looks wonderful.
    But who can fathom why different people respond to different scents?
    Jeffrey Stepakoff in The Orchard, wrote “A good fragrance is really a powerful cocktail of memories and emotion.” I hope the pot pourri will resonate with a great experience I’ve had and conjure up some pleasant emotions.
    Thanks for another lovely post.
    Best regards,
    Ruth

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  16. Thank-you for honoring Epiphany.

    The Inner Spiritual Light.

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  17. I totally feel the same about conjured up fragrances, Steve. It best suits me to refresh my manger by fluffing and scrubbing while windows and doors are open as wide as the weather will allow. That said, I am learning of SMN for the first time. If only I had know of it when I had the good fortune to be in Florence where I was content to stare at statures and architecture and know that I didn't really need expensive leather gloves. I little bundle of "ancient preparation."
    Happy New Year, Steve.
    I love dropping by to learn from you.
    Linda

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    1. Yes, cleaning your manger goes a long way to freshness!

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  18. Never heard of SNM. I see they have a storefront in Chevy Chase, so I'll pop in during my next trip to DC.

    I made your grapefruit martinis for happy hour Friday. Everyone raved, including my husband who isn't a grapefruit fan.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know you made the grapefruit martinis. Glad you liked them!

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  19. S...I am not a potpourri person, however, I am intrigued by the papers that burn, or that you can put in drawers. Thanks for introducing me to something new...k

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  20. Hi Steve thanks for the information about the new scents! I'm sure I can use them around this manger! There's nothing that beats the smell of a fresh manger! I love all your clichés in this post! I also like the snowflakes and your header, very cute!

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  21. I'll have to check them out - my manger could use some freshening!

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  22. Very, very interesting -- I would love to check those out. I am not at all one for home scents, but this really intrigues... The ONLY home sent I absolutely love is Frasier Fir by Thymes -- it comes as a candle, which is my favorite way to use it. I light it all through the holiday season. I promise, it is the most natural, clean pine scent you have ever smelled -- you would never know it isn't coming from a real tree in the room. There is nothing artificial or sickening about it. If there was, it would never last with me -- that kind of stuff just gives me a headache. Check it out. :) Of course, nothing beats centuries old recepies from Florence... (Oh how I love Florence.)

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  23. I'll never forget my first visit to Florence and the pharmacia of Santa Maria Novella. Som beautiful. My favorite bath oil comes from there.

    Your post was perfect for the Epiphany. :) My own contribution was baking a Galette des Rois.

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  24. Gallette des Rois? Wonderful! Do you hide a little something inside?

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    1. All I had was a coffee bean so I used that. As I make a Galette des Rois each year, I should buy a proper 'token' someday.

      (sorry about those spelling errors in my original comment :( )

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  25. I"m sure you already know that I clicked on the pet products first.
    I don't like air-freshener plug-ins etc. I always feel like it's just covering up something. I confess that I adore the smell of bleach and also of Downey. I'm pretty simple and love the smell of clean. Just the scent of Ivory soap makes me happy. This being said, it would be nice to have the chance to experience these scents in my home or on my pets.
    Right now my dogs smell like Watermelon, Strawberries or Coconuts.
    (I bathe them in Kid's Tearless Shampoo's).
    :) - Cindi

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  26. My daughter brought back rose water on a trip to Italy a couple of years ago and I completely forgot about this company...I just looked and there's a store in the village that has their products...it's on my list next time I'm in the city. I adore that little signature dish. Although the potpourri looks quite lovely in your brown transfer-ware too!

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  27. I grow my own herbs and make my own bowl of potpourri every autumn ... lemon verbena, lavender, a bit of rosemary, whole cloves, and a few dops of rose oil ... not as exotic as the ingedients you write of, but light and fresh when a bag is squeezed or a coat is hung on a hanger with a small bag hung ove the hangertop ...

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    1. Linda,
      That sounds wonderful! Thank you for sharing that.
      S.

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  28. What a treat to find your post on Santa Maria Novella Farmaceutica! This is one of my favorite stops in Florence. I am not usually a fan of anything scented or potpourri BUT the fragrances here are something completely different . The lotions, creams, elixars, and soaps all take me back to Florence for a moment each time I use them . The famraceutica is quite a magical place to visit. And don't miss a visit to the church a Santa Maria Novella with it's renaissance facade designed by Alberti and inside there are mastterpieces by some of the finest renaissance artists.

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  29. What a tempter you're becoming, Steve! First it was grapefruit martini and now it's heavenly perfumes - it's January, boy, time for getting back into a disciplined lifestyle!!

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  30. You are always ahead of the curve. I would love to get a whiff of this.

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  31. i'm wondering if it does smell like the frankensence (sp) at mass. that would be wild if it did.

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  32. So glad that is potpourri and not something to eat! Sounds heavenly though and thanks for sharing the shop with us.
    xo Nancy
    Powellbrowerhome.com

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  33. What an amazing place, and lovely scented goodies! Must try to stop by when I return to the States. Minerva x

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  34. What a wonderful place...I do buy scented candles....my favorite thing to do is boil cinnamon sticks in water....The whole house smells so good and it is natural....

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  35. I was actually there a few years ago on a trip to Florence. We really went to see the space - which is incredibly beautiful. Of course I left with a bag of skin potions! Which I must say where all wonderful and worked wonders. Your post reminds I need to go back or at least place an order!

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  36. Steve I am sold and of course I am thinking that these potions would magically cure me forever! I certainly will take a window shopping tour!

    xoxo
    Karena

    2013 Artists Series

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  37. It is incredible stuff. I have the burning papers. The potpourri is like nothing else!

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  38. Steve,
    We were heading to Warby Parker for eye glasses yesterday and had it not been for your post I would have walked right by this gorgeous store on Lafayette Street. Everything in the store is just beautiful and of course it smelled wonderful!
    annie

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  39. HI, just being curious, what are those mixtures in the plate? Thanks.

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    1. It's the potpourri right out the bag. It's herbs and spices, flower buds and petals and some kind of berries. Not sure what they are and they're not giving up their secrets.

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  40. I have long been a fan of their pot pourri, there is a shop in Chelsea, Wilton Street I think, London and i bought lots - it's expensive but really does last; have you seen their terracotta blob thingies - baked with oil inside and you use them in wardrobes etc. I have never seen their incense paper, must investigate these!! Best wishes B

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