Famous Italian Perfumes

Written by rebecca macken
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Famous Italian Perfumes
The Italian perfume industry provides an array of notable scents. (Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Originating in Venice in the 16th century, the art of perfume making quickly became a growing business due to the ready availability of resins and fragrant oils from Asia. In addition, the invention of the printing press and the greater accessibility to texts concerned with producing perfume allowed the industry to flourish. Presently, there are a variety of Italian perfumes that have garnered both domestic and international acclaim. Along with perfumers who specialise in creating fragrances, major Italian fashion houses have also made a showing in the market.

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Acqua di Parma

The Italian perfume company Acqua di Parma has been making perfumes for almost a century. Begun in Parma, Italy, in 1916, it gained international notoriety in the 1930s through the 1950s with its perfume Acqua di Parma Colonia, which continues to have loyal users. A restructuring in the late 1990s saw the perfume maker opening boutiques and drawing new customers to compete within the growing industry.


Best known for its 1870s creation, Violetta di Parma, the Borsari perfume house was also started in Parma, Italy. Lodovico Borsari discovered the recipe for his crowning achievement at a local monastery that had produced the perfume for the Duchess of Parma, Marie Louise. The Duchess so liked the scent of violets that she commissioned the monks of the Monastery of the Annunciate to produce several bottles for her before her death. The secret of the perfume remained a mystery until Borsari discovered it on a visit to the monastery. Since the first commercially produced batch of Violetta di Parma, Borsari has been a cornerstone of the Italian perfume market.


With its first shop opening in 1884 in Via Sistina, Italy, Bvlgari has long been a manufacturer of high-end perfumes, jewellery and other accessories. For the Rome-based company, perfume sales account for almost one-quarter of all international sales, with markets in Europe, the United States, Asia and the Middle East. The line produces fragrances for men and women, with a total of 14 different lines of scents for consumers to choose from including Omnia, Jasmin Noir and Bvlgari Men.

Giorgio Armani

The acclaimed Italian fashion house, spearheaded by its namesake Giorgio Armani, was started in 1975, and following the example set by other designers such as Bvlgari, began a line of perfumes in the early 1980s. These perfumes, licensed by L'Oreal have allowed the company to maintain a strong presence in the perfume industry in Italy. The Milan-based company produces brands such as Acqua di Gio, Armani Code and Armani Mania available in formulas for both men and women.

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