San Valentino is be a good day to learn about Venetian perfumes and here on the Blog it’s an opportunity to present to you a wonderful contemporary example in Venice, aimed at spreading the ancient perfumery know-how of the Serenissima.
I’m referring to Mavive and their perfumery line the Merchant of Venice, of whom you will probably have heard of.
But did you know that this is a family business with 116 years of experience in making perfumes. It’s a precious example, one of the most ancient family businesses still active Venice founded in 1900 by Angelo Vidal, a spice merchant !! It shows once again how spices have always been at the origin of beauty products, perfumes and cosmetics here in Venice.
Mr. Vidal set up a small laboratorio on the first floor of Palazzo Mocenigo (San Stae) in the same building in which the Museo del Profumo is located. He opened another lab in Marghera which at that time wasn’t an industry zone but a hamlet next to a swamp full of reeds on the fringes of the Lagoon.
After creating his signature perfume Pino Silvestre (pine tree) in 1950, the company was sold to Henkel. The family founded Mavive and in 2013, their current signature brand the Merchant of Venice was created.
In addition to managing the Museo del Profumo, Mavive offer workshops and a perfumery kit to make your own fragrance (you can buy it in their museum shop).
Here’s a glimpse of the Itinerario dei profumi, where visitors learn to recognize the various kinds of scents and perhaps create a perfume on their own :-)
In 2015, the Museum presented Il Profumo della Laguna even though under The Rape of Venice which wouldn’t imply we’re taking about the “Perfume of the Lagoon”. I missed this exhibition which I really regret, but fortunately, there’s this website and a few good descriptions of the scents (algae and green herbs an salt spray.
Salty humid sea spray, mixed with emerald and linden green reeds, aromatic herbs, light brown turf (le velme), succulent herbs … that’s what the Lagoon smells of when you take a boat trip somewhere near Torcello. The catalog below gives you all the details, so worth discovering !