‘The Botany of Leonardo,’ exhibition at Santa Maria Novella Museum

‘The Botany of Leonardo,’ exhibition at Santa Maria Novella Museum

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On view until December 15 at Santa Maria Novella Museum, the exhibition The Botany of Leonardo. A vision of science bridging Art and Nature’ outlines the philosophical and technological context of the time in which Leonardo da Vinci lived in order to explore his study of form and the processes of the Plant world in greater depth. Through his eyes as a “systemic” thinker, the connections between art, science and nature, as well as the relationships between different spheres of knowledge, are revealed.  The botany of Leonardo thus becomes a privileged perspective that opens up a modern discourse on scientific evolution and ecological sustainability.…

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Gardens of Florence #5: il giardino di Santa Maria Novella, flowers and fruits of Florentine tradition

Gardens of Florence #5: il giardino di Santa Maria Novella, flowers and fruits of Florentine tradition

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The garden of the prestigious perfume brand Santa Maria Novella is located in Firenze-Castello, close to the Medician villa of La Petraia. In this 161,458 ft² paradise still operates the ancient tradition of harvesting the hortus conclusus, just as the Dominican friars used to do in the monastery as of thirteenth century. In the garden and orchard of Santa Maria Novella grow all extracts and essences needed for the elaboration of the perfumes and other products of the legendary brand. The aroma of plants, trees and shrubs; the butterflies and lizards; the Tuscan sun; the Duomo of Florence in the distance … A perfect anti-stress frame prone to relaxation in a pure natural state. (Un)fortunately, it is not open to the public, so better ask for an appointment. (visiteofficina@smnovella.com).
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Cloisters of Florence: the great scape

Cloisters of Florence: the great scape

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Florence does not stand as a vulgar Renaissance theme park, but rather as an infinite source of beauty and art, an open-air museum in which emotions grow by every minute. As I walk through the cloisters of Santa Maria Novella, San Lorenzo, San Marcos, Santa Croce or Santo Spirito, peace and solitude seem very tangible to me. However, what most hypnotizes me is rather more radical. In these religious courtyards, with their gallery portrayed on all four sides, it is easy to feel as if you had left this world, not minding at all how to return, while you are busy imagining your next sins and who will be part of them.…

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Christine De Melo´s Florence

Christine De Melo´s Florence

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My Portuguese parents arrived in the US with nothing but the will to succeed. I fell in love with art, history, and architecture at a young age and longed to see the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, and Botticelli. Being firstborn to poor immigrants meant that I grew up with few prospects—Italy may as well have been the moon.…

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Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella: the perfume made in Florence

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In this mythical perfumery of Florence with four centuries of history, one senses that nothing wrong could ever happen. Moreover, a walk through its premises makes you feel as weighty as Catherine de’ Medici, queen of France as well as customer of a brand that today still sells the same scent created only for her: Acqua della Regina. Francesco Carlino, responsible for the establishment, gently shows and explains to me every corner and detail of the site, such as the original store overlooking the cloister of the Santa Maria Novella basilica, which today houses the herbal section of the business; the apprentice rooms on the first floor, where future employees of the firm are trained; the old office of the friar, with a strategic window porthole from where he used to control all activity in the store; the machinery used to manufacture perfumes, elixirs, air fresheners, hygiene and toilet articles; the old chapel with frescoes from Giotto’s school; or the church, today transformed into the main room of the store. The original site was a pharmacy founded by the Dominican monks in 1221. Given its success, it opened to the public in 1612 as perfume manufacturer, thus becoming the oldest in Europe today. In the second half of the nineteenth century, it passed into the hands of the state, which ceded its management to the nephew of the last friar director. This family has since then controlled the empire.
Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala 16

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Magical Florence by day & night (photo series)

Magical Florence by day & night (photo series)

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Writing about a fascination incites to living it twice. Florence (and all Italy) transmits a special magnetism to me, either at night or in the daylight. Indeed, I feel the more you visit a site, the more your identity will be linked to it. Choosing a place is never incidental, but caused by a wish, a certain object of desire. I have felt in love with Florence just as I could have with a person, thus looking to make the affair last, and staying here forever. Is it a whim? Certainly, one that´s rooted deep inside of me.

Photoseries also featured by Intoscana.it

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