The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice

Discovering the art of Venetian perfumery

by Lavinia Colonna Preti
The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice — Veneto Secrets

Discovering the perfumery art of which Venice became the capital already in the 11th century, thanks to its trade with the East, and the essences of The Merchant of Venice, today the guardian of this ancient tradition.

Participating in a Perfume Workshop is an exciting journey through an unprecedented Venice, the protagonist of Beauty in all its forms, not only that of its immortal arts, but also of its ladies who have entered into myth, a crossroads of cultures ready to anticipate new trends through the use of cosmetics and perfumery.

In fact, it is already from the 11th century that Venetian merchants import rare and precious goods from the East and the story tells of a Byzantine princess who, to marry Doge Domenico Selvo, in 1060 arrived in Venice accompanied by a rich set of make-up and ointments. Thus began the history of perfume in Venice, which in the following centuries would become the center of perfume art in Europe.

The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice — Veneto Secrets
The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice — Veneto Secrets

A man’s souls is his scent…He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men.

(Patrich Süskind, Il Profumo, 1985)

A fashion that will reach its peak between the Middle Ages and the Early Renaissance when, with the intensification of imports of spices, fabrics, silk, gold and essential oils through the routes organized in naval caravans that were called “mude“, the modern alcoholic perfumery was born. The Merchant of Venice perfumes are inspired by these legendary journeys, paying great attention to the search for the raw material that often comes from these ancient routes, such as tuberose from India or patchouli from Indonesia.

Today The Merchant of Venice, a brand of the Vidal family with over 120 years of entrepreneurial history behind it from the first soap factory created in 1900, continues this tradition with pride through the creation of luxury fragrances, understood as the uniqueness and exceptionality of a product, and the cultural dissemination of this form of art.

The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice — Veneto Secrets

Now a cult in the Lagoon, The Merchant of Venice offers in two locations – the new Olfactory Library inside the Studium bookshop in San Marco and the Perfume Museum in the sixteenth-century Palazzo Mocenigo in San Stae created in collaboration with the Civic Museums Foundation – experiential olfactory courses, designed for both beginners and professionals.

Among the “teachers”, Joan Giacomin, famous make-up artist, expert in perfumery art and historian of the subject, author among others of the delightful booklet Le petit livre du maquillage à Venise, which will lead you through an engaging journey that embraces all senses.

The Perfume Workshops by The Merchant of Venice — Veneto Secrets

It begins with a video of the compelling Venetian history of perfume and continues with a direct olfactory “touch & smell” of the most important natural and synthetic raw materials in order to be able to recognize the different olfactory families and, therefore, to be able to build the pyramid of a fragrance.
At the end of the workshop, you will have the opportunity to compose a real personalized perfume, to take home together with the memory of an unforgettable journey. A tip? You can book the Love Atelier, perfect for lovers or best friends, a special workshop dedicated to couples to create the perfume of your dreams and give life to the perfect chemistry.

Other “thematic” proposals include the Layering course, to learn how to combine essences, and The fairy tale and its perfume, aimed at children. Just follow the social networks of The Merchant of Venice to keep always updated on events and new course proposals!

The Secret

The Notable Secrets of the Art of Perfuming book, published for the first time in 1555 in Venice, is considered the first Western text on perfumes. A few years later the famous The Secrets of Mrs. Isabella Cortese came out, a female legendary alchemist, intellectual and scholar, who had an extraordinary success with 12 re-editions and also inspired some of the spa treatments signed by The Merchant of Venice.

Useful Info

Workshop Laboratorio del Profumo
Duration: 2 hours
Cost: from 150 euro per person, 100 for a min of 5 participants
For reservations

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