In 1380, the water of a delicate bouquet of flowers became the first perfume of the island of Capri.
This delicate work traces its origins back to the century in which the monastery was founded. A few years after the monastery was finished, in 1380, the father prior was taken by surprise at the news that the very same queen who had donated the land for the building, Giovanna de Angiò herself, was headed to the monastery for an official visit. The prior then rushed to make a floral arrangement, with the most beautiful flowers of the island, to receive her.
Once the queen left, when the flowers were to be thrown away, the prior noticed that the water (that had not been changed in three days) had acquired a fragrance unknown to him. He took the water to a botanist monk, who traced the origin of the scent back to the “Garofilum Silvestre Caprese.” That water, so the story goes, became the first perfume of Capri.
Also, another legend says it was a Carthusian monk in 1792 who made a wedding gift for a German merchant: a secret recipe for a “miracle water” (“acqua miralibilis”) said to be good for both internal and external use. With the recipe, this merchant established a small factory in Cologne (Germany), selling the first medicinal “Cologne Water,” eau de cologne.
Since you are here…
…we’d like to have one more word with you. We are excited to report that Aleteia’s readership is growing at a rapid rate, world-wide! Our team proves its mission every day by providing high-quality content that informs and inspires a Christian life. But quality journalism has a cost and it’s more than ads can cover. We want our articles to be accessible to everyone, free of charge, but we need your help. To continue our efforts to nourish and inspire our Catholic family, your support is invaluable. Become an Aleteia Patron today for as little as $3 a month. May we count on you?