Farmacia SS. Annunziata 1561

Farmacia SS. Annunziata 1561

When one thinks of perfume, they usually think of France, but that’s only thanks to Florentine-born Caterina dei Medici who brought the art of perfumery to France during the Renaissance. Florence is known as the home of perfume and the Azzerlini family’s bottega, Farmacia SS Annunziata 1561, has been specializing in the creation, testing and perfecting of niche perfumes, colognes, home fragrances, and cosmetics for many years.


"Firenze è riconosciuta come patria del profumo"

The origins of the Farmacia date back to 1561 when the space was used as a spezieria, an antique apothecary, belonging to the Benedictine convent of San Nicolò. The shop evolved over the centuries and is now a well – known brand that represents a special mix of science and art –  all in the heart of Florence!

Besides offering quality products (each with a unique story behind it), just visiting the shop is a unique experience, with its antique apothecary bottles, the wooden shelves and a particular framed ceramic insignia placed above the Farmacia’s door.

The insignia depicts the scene of the Annunciation, which is now part of the Farmacia’s iconic branding. All of these hidden treasures make it seem like you're stepping back in time.


"Siamo legati a questa cosa perché comunque ha a che fare con la nostra storia"

"We are connected to all of this because it’s part of our history."

Today, beyond this insignia you’ll find the bottega and laboratory of Elena and her brother Leonardo. As many artisans, they are continuing the family and Florentine tradition of developing products that reflect the beauty, heart, and soul of Made in Italy.


"Ringrazio sempre mia mamma che ha comprato sotto il Duomo… Firenze è la mia vita"

When Elena and Leonardo’s parents Carlo and Laura Azzerlini bought the Farmacia in 1970, they inherited a historic landmark that was severely damaged during the infamous 1966 flood of the Arno.

Repairs would take years, but the couple was determined to restore the pharmacy and preserve the Farmacia’s identity. While renovations were underway, the pair was working tirelessly in the laboratory developing and testing new products and creams – "erano sempre chiusi nel laboratorio! – they were always closed inside the laboratory!"

As years passed Elena began to help her father with the business and Leonardo (also a pharmacist!) started working alongside his mother in the lab. Elena shares with us that she will be forever grateful to her mother for having bought the pharmacy 'under the Duomo.' "I see the golden ball at the top of the cupola and it’s enchanting, I walk around Florence with my head up and I am more and more mesmerized. Florence is my life."


"Più che si può si lega a Firenze, è importante Firenze…"

The connection between artisans, history and Florence converge especially in one unique line of the Farmacia’s products – the arti maggiori.

The arts and trades guilds that are ever-present in Florentine art, architecture and literature are represented here in perfumes, potpourris and candles. Listening to Elena explain the process of choosing scents to represent different guilds is truly fascinating – afterall, how does one represent metal with a scent?! "Ognuno ha le suoi ragioni, è divertente each one has its reasons, it’s fun!"


Elena is quick to mention that Florence is a constant source of inspiration, "we try to connect everything to Florence, Florence is important". "Wood, tobacco, leather... walking down the streets of the bottegas, this is what represents us, what connects us, this connects us to Florence."


"Faccio il lavoro a pelle"

Elena talks about calendula, pepper, wood… she knows a lot about essences and she gets excited talking about her craft. She is creative- a whiskey scented perfume? Why not?!

She is also a perfectionist, she tells us it can take up to a year to get a fragrance right! As she walks us through the scents – this one smells like bergamot orange, this is the seaside, this smells of wood – like a log cabin – her eyes light up and you see the passion she has for her craft.

From candles to bath salts and potpourris, the Farmacia continues to expand its line of products while staying true to their values. History plays its part, but the Farmacia also tries to anticipate trends, and, sometimes just "follow their own instincts!"


"In the end, we remain artisans". With many artisans losing their centrally located bottegas to foreign companies and global chains, Elena reminds us of the difficulties of being artisans in a tourist hot spot.

The efforts the family has made to make their mark has brought Florentine artisans once into the global spotlight.

With encouragement from their father, Elena and Leonardo decided to "mettere il naso fuori – stick their noses out" of Italy and try to reach other markets. International fairs caught the attention of the Asian market, but when the pandemic struck and tourism fell, there was a lot of uncertainty for the future.


Despite the pandemic, when the Farmacia celebrated their 460th anniversary in 2021, they revolutionized everything – from their logo to their boxes, and even their bottles.

They worked on improving formulas and even bringing production closer to home to improve quality (even if it wasn’t always the cost-effective solution). From perfume essences to label printing, the Farmacia’s production is truly Made in Italy, a value they hope to maintain for years to come.