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  • Ancient Pharmacy of San Marco, Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • Ancient Pharmacy of San Marco, Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Antica Farmacia di San Marco [Ancient Pharmacy of San Marco]

The pharmacy was established at the initiative of Friar Antonino and thanks to the munificence of Cosimo de' Medici, known as The Elder, during the years in which the Gran Duke decided to rebuild the monastic complex of San Marco. In 1450 the pharmacy, whose products were initially prepared for the monastery alone, was opened to the public as well. Among its products that became famous was an alkermes, particularly appreciated by Lorenzo the Magnificent, and an anti-hysterical water. Stomachic elixir, Dominican liqueur, tisane, elastine and Scotch pine syrup were created in 1498. Dating from 1700 is the pharmacy's rosewater, of which the Dominicans wrote: "Thanks to the particular character of the singular Roses of Bulgaria, from which it is directly distilled, this rosewater is miraculous is delaying the onset of the sad harbingers of old age: wrinkles. Warmed at bain-marie, it restores brilliancy and vivacity to tired eyes." Over the centuries, the pharmacy also served as a meeting place for artists and intellectuals. granduca

In 1995 the pharmacy was moved to Via Carissimi. The furnishings dating from the late 17th century, consisting of a series of natural wood cabinets of elegant workmanship in the sales area, the adjacent room, known as the "Crocodile room", and the back room formerly used as laboratory, are still to be found on the ancient premises. The rich, well-documented pharmaceutical equipment, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries, consisted mainly of ceramic jars manufactured by Ginori of Doccia, and 26 polychrome double-handled water-jugs attributed to the Montelupo manufactory. These precious pieces were entirely dispersed due to theft, and were replaced by copies ordered from Montelupo by Father Fatichi.


Texts by Antonella Gozzoli

English translation by Catherine Frost

Last update 01/feb/2008