By Diane Rose Glass
From sharp, clean lemon and orange to sweet honey and spicy cloves, roses offer their own charming and wondrous scents. Fragrance can be an inescapable lure when traveling as it brings back a special memory of a place and time. To get away from the museums and crowds in Florence, Italy, here are three lesser-known destinations — all with a connection to roses — that provide insight into the Renaissance culture of slow living.
AquaFlor Firenze, Borgo Santa Croce, 6. This discreet storefront sits on a side street not far from the Santa Croce Piazza. Its aromatic smell serves as a welcome to the darkly lit and sumptuously elegant interior displaying rare and precious perfumes, all created on-site, and a unique selection of handmade soaps, essential oils, room sprays, and body lotions. www.aquaflorfirenze.com
Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via della Scala, 16. Located around the corner from the Santa Maria Novella Church, this retail shop began in the 16th century. It is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world and feels like a step back in time, with period architectural details, frescos dating to the 14th century when the library was part of the church sacristy, and displays of handmade fragrances, soaps, homeopathic items, body oils, candles, and teas. www.smnovella.it
Rose Garden below Piazza Michelangelo. This public garden is easily missed as it is surrounded by a high stone wall. There is no entrance fee, and it is only open during spring and summer. It offers the same views of Florence as the crowded Piazza above, but with heirloom, fragrant roses blooming all around and nothing for sale. There are over 350 varieties of shrub and climbing roses to enjoy as well as sculptures done by Belgian artist Jean-Michel Folon.
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