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Lorenzo Villoresi

text Teresa Favi

October 2, 2023

The Florence of Lorenzo Villoresi

A journey through the streets, ateliers and workshops of the city in the company of the great perfumer

Via de’ Bardi, an age-old palazzo, a stunning loggia with a panoramic view of Florence.  It is the magic that he conjures, the perfume-maker who is considered to be one of Europe’s greatest ‘noses’. At his rooftop shop-laboratory, which is open only by appointment and, for a few years now, has been housing also the Perfume Museum and a garden filled with aromatic plants, Lorenzo Villoresi receives guests and customers,  studies every detail, tries out and creates. He developed a passion for perfumes and for the mix of  the old and modern, of the Renaissance and Far East, which makes him so unique, also through his university studies in biblical philology and ancient philosophy.

La boutique di Lorenzo Villoresi a Firenze

From there, he plunged into the job of artisan-artist to create personalized perfumes, which earned him the awarding of the prestigious Coty prize,  the equivalent of the Academy Award in filmmaking. Villoresi was the first Italian and the first independent perfume-maker to receive it. Celebrities, famous people, personalities travel to Florence to have their own perfume created especially for them: “My job is to translate memories, visions and sensations into a fragrance, it is a form of haute couture. It requires money and commitment. It involves listening to and guiding people who want something specific, but don’t know exactly what yet. I start from their childhood memories, pains and joys”.

La boutique di Lorenzo Villoresi a Firenze

What role does Florence play in all this? “Florence has a cultural and artistic genius loci which is positive for all those who have a connection to arts and creativity. It is a city unique of its kind on the international scene. And, what is more, you don’t have to travel too far to reach the countryside- only a five-minute drive- which is definitely a rare thing for a city that attracts thousands of people!”.  If Florence were a perfume? “It would be a hidden orchard with magnolias and sweet osmanthus, wisteria, lavender and various aromatic herbs. Something like its botanical garden, known as Orto dei Semplici”.

Perfumes and essences

In addition to our Perfume Museum, housed in the age-old palazzo at 12 Via de’Bardi, which offers a multisensory journey through the scents and appearance of the main aromatic ingredients, I would like to mention Bizzarri, a magical, alchemic place that takes visitors back in time, and the Ortigia shop on Borgo San Jacopo.


The historic silverware shop Pampaloni, on Via Porta Rossa, while the company’s headquarters on Via del Gelsomino hosts evening events by reservation, in a unique and very fascinating scenery. Worth visiting is also Paolo Penko’s goldsmith’s shop and silversmith Giancarlo Ottanelli, to explore the secrets and craftsmanship behind arts handed down over the centuries. Simone Giannini’s restoration and gilding workshop on Via del Palazzuolo. Very interesting is also Moleria Locchi, which creates magnificent engravings on glass and crystal.

Made in Florence

I often give as presents Visconti’s pens, which can be customized with the initials of the receiver. For precious gifts, I go to Nerdi Orafi Incisori: their pieces of jewelry are inspired by Florentine Renaissance models.

Local traditions

Florence’s calcio storico is a must-see event for both Florentines and tourists interested in the local traditions. This historic football match is held every year on June 24th, St. John’s Day.


At Café Pasticceria Gamberini on Borgo Ognissanti at the corner with Via Curtatone, breakfast is excellent and well as the service. If you are in search of traditional Tuscan cuisine, I suggest to book a table at Armando on Borgo Ognissanti, a typical Tuscan trattoria. For a more formal dinner, the Savoy Hotel’s Irene restaurant, just steps away from the Duomo. When I wish to buy some tasty local food, I usually go to the Corzano e Paterno factory: their wine, olive oil and cheese are delicious! Formaggioteca Terroir on Via de’ Renai offers top-quality wine and cheese, both Italian and French. It is also the go-to place for excellent drinks.

5 of my favorite places:

  • The Porcellino Fountain

It is, to me, the symbol of Florence, located beside the New Market’s loggia, near Ponte Vecchio.

Fontana del Porcellino

  • Forte Belvedere

Florence’s most beautiful view is from Forte Belvedere to Costa Scarpuccia by going down along Costa San Giorgio.

Forte Belvedere

  • The Perfume Museum

Our multisensory journey through the scents and appearance of the main aromatic ingredients with the addition of a collection of aromatic plants in the garden and on the terraces. At 12 Via de’ Bardi.

Museo del profumo

  • The Stibbert Museum

A fascinating collection of arms and suits of armor, costumes, paintings, tapestries and furnishing objects. It is located on the street by the same name at number 26, just outside of downtown Florence.

Museo Stibbert (ph. Alessandro Moggi)

  • Calcio storico

It is the must-see event for all those interested in the local traditions. This historic football match is held every year, on Piazza Santa Croce, on June 24th, St. John’s Day.

calcio storico

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