Words by William Kemp
Photographs by Christian
In the heart of Florence, within the vibrant Santa Croce neighborhood, exists a showcase of sensory luxury and aesthetic charm — Aquaflor. Akin to the historical charm of Santa Maria Novella, another perfumery gem in the city, Aquaflor is nestled discreetly amidst the urban canvas. A seemingly modest entrance — so understated that one might easily pass by without notice — leads to an interior of tasteful design and subtle charm, where Renaissance grace melds seamlessly with contemporary touches.
Aquaflor’s enchanting realm unfolds in what was once the stables of a grand Renaissance-era palazzo. This architectural heritage imbues the space with historical resonance, an atmosphere accentuated by the careful preservation of original elements. Vaulted ceilings stretch above, creating a sense of both grandeur and intimacy, while an inviting, carefully restored staircase intrigues visitors with the promise of hidden discoveries.
The interior blends age-old elegance with modern simplicity, featuring mahogany-and-glass cabinets alongside antique tables filled with an array of perfumes and personal care items. This design celebrates the Florentine tradition of craftsmanship, echoing Italy’s rich cultural heritage.
Master perfumer Nicola Bianchi’s creations — exotic perfumes and colognes named Bahia, Frenesia, and Tzigana, among others — are showcased as part of a harmonious tableau, arranged with meticulous attention to detail. These olfactory wonders, each crafted with rare, globally sourced materials, lend the space a unique character.
Noteworthy is the design of the private atelier, where Sileno Cheloni, Aquaflor’s lead perfumer, creates bespoke fragrances. This secluded enclave exudes an almost alchemical atmosphere, where timeless expertise meets innovative creativity under the gentle glow of antique light fixtures.
Descending a hidden staircase, visitors are led to an underground sanctuary, a temperature-regulated cellar safeguarding Aquaflor’s perfumery treasures. This atmospheric space resonates with the store’s overarching aesthetic narrative, combining functional design with visual appeal.
Beyond the main space, the loft balcony and private terrace stand as serene oases amidst the boutique’s aromatic ambiance. Here, guests can find a moment of respite, immersing themselves in the harmonious blend of scent and design that defines Aquaflor.
Aquaflor is not just a perfumery but a journey into Florence’s artistic soul. It’s where fragrance harmonizes with design, offering a sensory blend of historic and modern Italian elegance. Essential for aficionados of interior design and fine perfumery.
Borgo Santa Croce, 6,
50122 Firenze FI, Italy