Casa del Profumo is the new museum of Santa Maria Maggiore that celebrates the history of Aqua Mirabilis. On 23rd July 2016 the info point and the garden of herbs were inaugurated, looking forward to the whole exhibition being opened to the public: a fascinating tour through perfumes and herbs to discover the true history of Eau de Cologne.
The Municipality of Santa Maria Maggiore is working to complete the organization and restoration of the seat that will house the permanent exhibition. The name “Casa del Profumo” itself (House of Perfume) shows the main theme of this museum: a tour to discover the legendary history of Eau de Cologne (witnessed also in the Perfume Museum Casa Farina in Cologne), through stories, anecdotes, fortunes that are strictly connected to the phenomenon of emigration.
Casa del Profumo is the new museum that will enrich the cultural offer of Santa Maria Maggiore. This new project aims to recall the histories of two famous emigrants and, above all, it celebrates the invention of Eau De Cologne. The part of the exhibition – inaugurated in 2016 – presents a collection of memories that introduce to the history of Eau de Cologne, whose inventor was Giovanni Paolo Femminis. He was born in Crana (hamlet of Santa Maria Maggiore) and – when he was very young – he emigrated to Germany and he settled in Cologne.
Aqua Mirabiliswas created as a curative essence and its medicinal properties were certified by the University of Cologne in 1727. Then it became a very renowned perfume, appreciated all over the world by illustrious personalities, such as for example Napoleon Bonaparte.
Its great success was possible thanks to Giovanni Maria Farina, a merchant emigrated from Valle Vigezzo to Maastricht. He was the first who merchandised Aqua Mirabilis.
Thanks to the great success of Femminis and Farina, Valle Vigezzo became famous also abroad. Femminis was also a generous benefactor of the church and the school of Santa Maria Maggiore.
The first part of the museum was realized thanks to the project “Elisir del Ben-essere”.
Santa Maria Maggiore and Casa del Profumo will collaborate with L’Oreal and Atelier Fragranze Milano. L’Oreal – in particular with its Roger&Gallet line – is the most important producer of Eau de Cologne in the world. Whereas Atelier Fragranze Milano is a laboratory that creates fragrances for the main perfume brands of the world.
These two international collaborations show the importance of “Casa del Profumo” in Santa Maria Maggiore and represent the important role of “Made in Italy” also in perfumery.
The ground floor of the building houses a little exhibition of the herbs used for the original recipe of Aqua Mirabilis and the info point, where you can buy perfumes and herbal teas.
In addition, open to visits, also a wonderful greenhouse and an outdoor garden with a small citrus grove and herbs and fragrant plants that make up the original recipe of Aqua Mirabilis.
The financing done by “Fondazione Cariplo” and “Fondazione Comunitaria del Vco” will allow the complete restoration of the building. The museum will be finished by spring 2018. On the first floor a technologic and multimedia tour will be proposed to visitors: a mixture of history and technology.
The different notes of the perfume will be matched up with clothes and accessories of the traditional costume of Valle Vigezzo. The so-called head notes will be combined with the accessories worn on the head; the heart notes will be presented together with clothes for the bust, and finally the base notes will be connected with clothes and accessories for feet and legs.
Little parking in Piazza Risorgimento (50 m.).
Wide parking: 200 m. (Piazza Mercato).
You cannot always reach the museum by car: during the tourist season the old town centre is converted into a pedestrian precinct.
Railway station of Ferrovia Vigezzina-Centovalli in Santa Maria Maggiore: 300 m (5 minutes on foot).
Admission fees will be communicated as soon as possible.