My last visit to Bella Italia was 18 years ago, which is way too long for someone intrigued by all things Italian. From the food, gelato, wine and people to the history, art, architecture and lifestyle – it’s safe to say I’m obsessed with La Dolce Vita. This past July, my family of 4 packed up our bags, left the teenagers phones at home to depart from the San Francisco International aboard an overnight flight bound for Leonardo da Vinci Airport in Rome, where we would then spend 3 glorious weeks together in my favorite country, Italia.
As you can imagine, I have so much to share with you all; from the 6 charming boutique hotels we stayed – places like the late 14th century Residenza d’Epoca In Piazza della Signoria (Florence) and Hotel Palazzo Ravizza (Siena), to our 10 hour tour of Tour Val D’Orcia (Tuscany) with our private English speaking driver, Dejan Prvulovic, an intimate cooking class with Chef Maurizio Tater at the family-run Hotel Marina in Monterosso, discovering Artisans in tucked away alleys, long meals in small tucked away places like Cantina Belsiana (Rome), Cecco (Siena), and Da Eraldo (Monterosso) and let’s not leave out the best Gelato discovery…Gelateria Edoardo (Biological Ice Cream!) in Florence.
Was it hot, humid, and crowded at times? Absolutely. But luckily good water is a plenty in Italy and there’s nothing like a mid-afternoon break with a cup of Gelato, Affogoto, Aperol Spritz, or glass of Pinot Grigio to allow you to enjoy the Italian Dolce Vita.
What exactly is the Italian Dolce Vita? In Italian, la dolce vita literally translates as “the sweet life”, or “the good life”. La dolce vita in Italy means a life of pleasure and simple luxury; it’s about enjoying the good things in life and about really indulging in the things you love.
Speaking of simple luxuries, I am obsessed with Italian Pharmacies – their large neon green cross beckoning me in each town, city, and village we visited. It actually became a family fun fact that mom knew the location of every Pharmacy within walking distance from each hotel we stayed at. Knowing this, you can imagine my excitement when the kids agreed (I may have bribed them with Gelato) to visit one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe. Santa Maria Novella is claimed to have been set up in 1221 in the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, Italy, which now houses a perfume museum and large boutique. A bit off the beaten tourist path, it’s a must-visit for any beauty junkie or history buff visiting Florence – it’s like nowhere else I’ve ever been. There are currently 5 US store locations which you can view | HERE.
So for my fellow beauty junkies, here’s a look at a few new-to-me Italian pharmacy skincare & body care lines, discovered on my most recent trip to Italy, that I simply cannot get enough of. Bonus, with the exception of Pupa Milano, all of today’s finds are available to purchase online in the US!
A centuries-old tradition made from Rosa centifolia (or May rose), with refreshing and toning properties.
Can also be used for: detergent for the face, tonic, refresh irritated skin, to scent bathwater.
Refreshing, toning and moisturizing face tonic. Alcohol free and paraben free.
3. Idea Toscana Prima Spremitura Melting Body Butter | Amazon HERE or at PrimaSpremitura.It
The melting body butter is a compact cream that, once applied to the skin, melts in a pleasant and regenerative caress. This melting process nourishes deeply the skin, without feel it heavy. The product is suitable for all skin types, to elasticize the tissues and to give an intense and durable nourishment to the skin. It is rich in Organic Toscano PGI Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Shea butter and Cocoa butter in order to restore the skin’s correct tone and elasticity…read more HERE.
4. L’Erbolario Vitamin Rich Lip Balm with With Apple and Tangerine Juice | Amazon HERE | 3 pack HERE
This lip balm was recommended to me along with the Prima Spremitura Melting Body Butter (above), while I was looking for room spray at L’Erbolario on Via del Corso in Florence.
About L’Erbolario: Founded in Lodi in 1978 as a small artisan herbalist, but much earlier in the dreams of its founders: Franco Bergamaschi and his wife Daniela Villa, have, ever since their childhood, always shared their passion for the world of medicinal plants, and spent days on end in the country fields of Lodi searching for wild herbs…read more.
About this Lip Balm: A Vitamin Lip Gloss can actually be described as “delicious” with the addition of the juices from apples and tangerines. It leaves a protective yet subtle coat that highlights the shape and color of the lips while offering the hydration and softness suitable for any season or climate. The addition of Vitamins C and E helps to fight the effects of the aging of this delicate area.
5. L’Occitane 3-in-1 Micellar Water Infused with Cucumber and Thyme | L.Occitane.com HERE | Amazon HERE
After running out of face wash, I dashed over to the Pharmacy in Stresa (Lake Maggiore) where the helpful woman at the counter recommended I give this Micellar Water a try. I love L’Occitane products and since I was traveling was all about the idea of a 3-in-1 option. This daily micellar water, infused with cucumber and thyme, smells so pleasant – I found myself using it in the mornings as well.
6. Pupa Milano Exfoliating & Revitalising Mask | HERE
Pupa Milano masks were being sold like lip balm at the checkout of a Pharmacy I visited in Stresa. I cannot seem to find a way to purchase this product here in the US, but I am sharing it in the event you are traveling to Europe or live in Europe and want to give it a try. I used this mask when I returned to the US to refresh my dry, travel-worn skin and I loved it. I hope it comes our way in the US soon!
What it is: An exfoliating and revitalizing face mask with a fresh and pleasant gel consistency. The action of the Lemon extract, which is rich in AHAs and vitamins, and the Fruit Micro granules, carries out an effective and gentle peeling for a revitalized and radiant face.
Have you tried any of these products? Do you shop the pharmacies while traveling abroad? What products have you discovered and brought home with you?
To my International friends, I’d love to know the products you’ve found while visiting Italian or French Pharmacies! Drop me a line down below, we’d all love to hear! Ciao xx