Another cold, grey day here, kids (and thus I) home from school for some sort of teacher's in-service day to grade recent NYS math and English tests, and I am supremely annoyed with the older two because my linen closet is ALWAYS in disarray, empty, jumbled, or a combination thereof. We have 22 towels for 5 people (one of whom is quite small). Each bed has 2-3 sets of sheets, which are folded neatly by me, but somehow end up crammed on shelves, separated, pillow cases mismatched...maddening. I have tried everything - color coding, stacking by family member, rationing, death threats - to no avail. So I feel my Irish rising and start tearing everything out...to discover, nestled behind some nice flannel wads of sheets, one of my most favorite girlie things. My last (and I'd thought used) bar of Santa Maria Novella "Garofano" (Carnation-scented) milk soap. Oh joy! Oh rapture! I bought it in Italy (Firenze, near the basilica and piazza of the same name) a few years ago when we took a family trip to Italy. The scent is so....lush and feminine, I guess, without being too flowery. It made my day, and a fabulous hot soak to soothe my hot temper.
The Farmacia Santa Maria Novella dates back to the early 1200's, when the Dominicans began their own distillery and formulated herbal remedies, and then came under the patronage and exclusive control of the Medicis in the 1600's. They make all kinds of good stuff - perfumes, soaps, skin and body care, candles, potpourri, all from recipes and formulas that are hundreds of years old. You can buy a few items online through sites like eluxury.com, some of the tonier department stores, and they have satellite stores in major cities in Europe (I hit the one in London (Chelsea) in 2003) as well as NYC and (I think) LA. The latte per il corpo (body milk) is wonderful, smells like fresh roses, as is the men's version - soft and spicy. The baby soap and lotion is one of a kind. I use it on me more than on the baby! Mmmmmm.....
My ideal dream-job retirement fantasy would be to run a SMN store in LaJolla, or maybe on Maui...
The Basilica Santa Maria Novella The Sales Room at the Farmacia
The Spice Room (Compounding/Distillery)
It's gorgeous, and well worth a stop if you are in Florence...or anywhere you can find a shop!
Oh yeah. The linen closet still looks like hell. :)