Getting lost in scent paradise: Antica Profumeria del Sacro Cuore

A perfume that echoes love? Here you are. A scent to make you experience pure bliss? There you go. Something rounder, less spiced, slightly fruity, a little bit softer, but sensual, and yet delicate, by no means impersonal, and oh, also, possibly reminiscent of a certain feeling of longing? Lady (or Sir), you’re served. Antica Profumeria del Sacro Cuore is the heaven of scents, the house of magic through smell. (Smell also happens to be the name of a festival that, for the last ten years, Bologna has dedicated to the most primal, and most neglected, of all senses).

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This super stylish, rétro looking, persian mats filled little shop a few steps away from Piazza Maggiore is actually an institution among niche perfume connoisseurs, having been one of the firsts in Italy only selling the less commercial, more selected products from traditional maisons of perfumes and the most successful noses. Forget your Prada, Valentino or any other mainstream name: you won’t find any of these here. However, you will find  beautiful little bottles and jars with stylish shapes and sophisticated graphics filled with some rather unusual creations.

Even more precious than the perfume you’ll may end up buying (perhaps after two or three visits: no pressure here) is the experience you have if you let the owners and clerks guide you through the marvels of scents and fragrance families. Personally, I’m a fan of Roberto, an extremely talented, intuitive and patient guy (note: patience is essential when it comes to finding your own scent) that really knows his stuff, and can help you find what you still don’t exactly you are looking for, as well as lead you through a journey among powders, musks, roots, mediterranean fruits, eastern spices, nocturnal flowers, rare ambers and unpredictable mixes that really can make you feel intoxicated, in quite a lovely way.

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He’ll also teach you something about the history of a perfume, the memory it tries to evoke or the atmosphere it’s there to replicate, as well as juicy anecdotes on the noses themselves and their own journeys. I go there about every four months, when I feel like looking for a new fragrance that resonates with the season and my current mood. I torture poor Roberto with my evanescent yet assertive needs (in june it was “A perfume that speaks of love”, last saturday “Something that makes me feel awake and energized”, and he was kind enough not to propose an espresso), try a bunch of amazing perfumes and eventually end up buying the one I have been using for the past four years. Still, every time it is worth the visit.

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