What does one buy on an Italian vacation in Florence? Are you a souvenir junky, an antique addict, clothes monger, an art advocate for all those handcrafted watercolors on the street, or do you just go for that giant hunk of Florentine steak to share with your party? No, I know, it’s the gold. Shining in ultra bright lights on purpose, there is enough gold jewelry and Murano glass to melt the heart of the thriftiest miser. Then I saw an article about the making of perfumes by alchemists during the Renaissance and I knew I was onto to something. (See prior post.)
Strolling down Via dei Cimatore I caught a fresh floral breeze wafting by, or was it a grassy spring-like scent? I turned, and there it was, a store so inviting, I was magnetized to enter. It was a world of mirrors and bottles dressed in Florentine finery standing to be revered. And then, there was handsomely dressed Ilario. Thankfully, he spoke English. He pronounced his name “Ill-ahhh-dio” with the appropriate pause in the middle, like a romantic sigh. He greeted me with a slight bow and a dazzling smile and reached for my hand. I was afraid he was actually going to kiss it. Instead he started with the sales promotion, so courteously I felt revered myself.
Ilario was most charming in his delivery and Italian accent, and began offering one scent stick at a time, slowly and with purpose all the while speaking softly about the perfume history, and manufacturer, but more importantly how to make it your best friend. “You must have a scent of your own, Madame,” he purred with his Italian accent sounding like the intonation of a priest. Iladio presented one miraculous flavor to the nose after another. “This one has in it the rose,” he went on. “For you.” With a slight bow, he offered the scent stick. It was scent and seduction at its best.
“And for you, I have included a discount,” he murmured as he carefully wrapped the jewel-capped bottle of “Bacio” I had chosen. I wondered if there was an extra charge for the gorgeous blue box carefully and purposefully tied with gold satin ribbon. I accepted my package, thanked Iladio graciously for his service and climbed the stairs out of the store. My knees were a bit wobbly and I balked at the glaring sunlit street. I almost didn’t want to leave the store’s comfortable sanctuary, and Ilario’s attention. The perfume’s name Bacio means kiss and I know I will enjoy the kiss of Firenze before, during and after my trip home.