It was once a 14th century Gothic Church, founded by the Dominican Friars, who were part of that whole medieval bunch of holy men who started gathering Italian flowers and turning them into health and beauty potions. Thanks to those gentlemen, we have one of the most gorgeous shops on earth, that turns a shopping trip into a mystical experience.
It’s one jewel box of a room after another, staffed by chic women who graciously offer you chances to sniff and sample these bewitching creations. It’s also bursting with wonderful souvenirs. I LOVE the potpourri, made with ten different herbs and flowers from the surrounding hills, packaged in velvet pouches. Yes, you can now get Santa Maria Novella products on-line and at stores in New York and Beverly Hills, but there is nothing like going to this dreamy source!
For lunch? The nearby Trattoria Garga at Via del Moro 48r, is a delicious, artsy hangout, beloved by Florentines and tourists.
Insomma…Just steps away from the Florence train station, you can smell, see, and taste some of Italy’s finest creations.