Acqua di Parma

The Favorite Scent of the Stars

Acqua di Parma boutique - shop

Acqua di Parma boutique

Movie stars, such as Audrey Hepburn, Ava Gardner, David Niven and Cary Grant, all wore Acqua di Parma's classic scent. This famous Italian perfume matched their elegance, class and style.

Acqua di Parma

City of Parma

The company opened its first small factory in Parma in 1916 and produced its first scent, Acqua di Parma Colonia. This was designed to scent the handkerchiefs of elegant Italian men, at first.

During the most fashionable era of Hollywood - the thirties to the fifties- this light, woody scent with its tones of lemon and rosemary found its appeal. The other heavier, stronger perfumes on the market, mostly from Germany, began to lose their allure. Acqua di Parma became 'the classic symbol of Italian elegance.'

Unfortunately the popularity of this delightful scent began to decline during the sixties and the nineties. It was rescued by three powerful Italian businessmen who all retained a fondness for the classic scent - Luca Montezemolo of Ferrari, Diego Della Vale who owned Tod's, and Paolo Borgomanero, a shareholder of the lingerie company, La Perla. In Montezemolo's case, the Acqua di Parma Colonia scent was his father's favorite. They kept the famous cylindrical bottles and the bright yellow packaging while introducing many other products. These included candles, linen, an aromatherapy line and new perfumes.

The perfume again became popular with celebrities, such as Sandra Bullock and Sharon Stone.

Acqua di Parma cologne


The aromatherapy line, Blu Mediterraneo, was inspired by the Italian landscape and includes bath oils and perfumes. Like the original perfume, this line is unisex, so the products are suitable gifts for men and women.

In 2001 the company was sold to the extremely large high-end brand company, LMVH, but the perfumes are still hand-distilled in Italy.

Acqua di Parma cologne oil soap

Cologne Oil Soap

Last year Acqua di Parma introduced its first female fragrance, Iris Nobile, which was created by the company's 'nose', Paola Paganini. Inspired by the beautiful iris garden in Florence where growers compete for various prizes, she decided to base the perfume on this expensive and delicate flower which is the emblem of Florence. She used the common variety, the blue pallida, and the oil from the rhizomes or thickened stems. These are gathered, dried and distilled over three years.

Catherine di Medici called the scent of the iris, 'the Queen's water', and introduced it to France. Perfumes created from this aristocratic flower have a long history and were very popular in nineteenth century Italy, so it is good to see that they are back in fashion.

Other Acqua di Parma perfumes include the elegant Colonia Assoluta, which is packaged in the company's signature 1930's Art Deco bottle, and the evocative Fico di Amalfi, based on the Mediterranean smell of the fig. This is in the Blu Mediterraneo range.

The company now supplies its toiletries and lavish robes to many luxury hotels and cruise ship lines, such as Silverseas. Its products are sold in stores all over the world, including Harrods, Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus. These are certainly worth buying for the pleasure of adding a touch of Italian elegance to one's life!

Lisa-Anne Sanderson

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