Casa del Profumo Feminis – Farina

Casa del Profumo was opened in Santa Maria Maggiore: Eau de Cologne has its Italian museum in Valle Vigezzo. A fascinating tour through perfumes, fragrances and herbs to discover the true history of Eau de Cologne.

Casa del Profumo is a multimedia and multi-sensory museum, a flagship of Piedmont’s cultural offer: the exhibition celebrates the legendary history of Eau de Cologne, the most ancient and famous perfume in the world. Visitors will discover stories, tales, anecdotes, fortunes that are strictly connected with the phenomenon of emigration, presented also by the other two museums of the town: Museo dello spazzacamino and Scuola di Belle Arti “Rossetti Valentini”.
Casa del Profumo Feminis – Farina enriches the cultural offer of Santa Maria Maggiore, a little town in Piedmont that has been awarded Bandiera Arancione by Touring Club Italiano since 2009.


After the official inauguration on Saturday, 24th March 2018, the multimedia exhibition of Casa del Profumo Feminis – Farina is totally open to the public (a part of the museum was opened in 2016) and it aims to recall the histories of two famous emigrants and, above all, it celebrates the invention and the true history of Eau De Cologne.

The formula of Eau de Cologne was invented by Giovanni Paolo Feminis, born in Crana (nowadays hamlet of Santa Maria Maggiore). When he was very young, he emigrated to Cologne. Aqua Mirabilis was created as a curative essence thanks to its medicinal properties but then it became a very renowned perfume, appreciated all over the world. Its great success was possible thanks to the friendship between Feminis and Giovanni Maria Farina, a merchant from Santa Maria Maggiore, who emigrated to Maastricht. He was the first who merchandised Aqua Mirabilis. Thanks to the creativity and pragmatism of Feminis and Farina, Eau de Cologne – and also Valle Vigezzo – became famous also abroad.

The five-century-long history of Eau de Cologne witnesses the ancient Italian creativity, which is worth to be discovered. Now this is possible thanks to the long-awaited inauguration of Casa del Profumothe new museum of Santa Maria Maggiore – that aims to celebrate the invention of this fascinating fragrance, whose origins are in Valle Vigezzo. On 24th March the multimedia tour was inaugurated: it completes the permanent exhibition, whose ground floor was opened in 2016.

The museum is dedicated to Susy Giorgis, an important figure for the cultural and tourist development of Santa Maria Maggiore and Valle Vigezzo. This woman of great culture was a hotelier, a painter and the historic president of Scuola di Belle Arti and Gruppo Folcloristico Valle Vigezzo. Nowadays this association has its seat on the second floor of Casa del Profumo, where ancient and traditional objects and tools are displayed in order to hand down memories and customs of the cultural heritage of Valle Vigezzo.

The Municipality of Santa Maria Maggiore – thanks also to important financing done by “Fondazione Cariplo” and “Fondazione Comunitaria del Vco” – developed the project and supervised the restoration of the building in Piazza Risorgimento that houses the permanent exhibition. The name “Casa del Profumo” itself (House of Perfume) shows the main theme of this museum and it is certainly “a pearl” of the cultural offer in Piedmont.

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The fascinating history of Eau de Cologne goes back to the end of the 17th century thanks to the brilliant invention by Giovanni Paolo Feminis, born in Crana, a small hamlet of Santa Maria Maggiore.

It is known as “Eau de Cologne” simply because its inventor settled down in Cologne, where the company, which has been producing this perfume since 1709, was opened and has its headquarters still today. But the history of one of the most famous perfumes of the world is totally Italian. Better, it began in Valle Vigezzo.


The exhibition area of Casa del Profumo represents a real journey through the famous and ancient history of Eau de Cologne. You will discover thus a little multi-sensory museum: for the first time you will find out curious anecdotes and unknown events related to the real and legendary history of Eau de Cologne.

Casa del Profumo has a promising future: some perfume companies showed their great interest in the project of the Municipality of Santa Maria Maggiore. Casa del Profumo boasts important collaborations with the historic producers of Eau de Cologne – which continue the production of this fragrance following the original formula by Feminis and Farina – and with one of the main laboratories of fragrances in the world.

Piazza Risorgimento, 5
28857 Santa Maria Maggiore
ph. +39.0324.95091

You cannot always reach the museum by car, during the tourist season the old town centre is converted into a pedestrian precinct.
Little parking in Piazza Risorgimento.
Wide parking: 200m (Piazza Mercato).
Railway station of Ferrovia Vigezzina-Centovalli 300m (5 minutes on foot).

For Casa del Profumo opening hours, please check here.

Admission fee: € 3 per person

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