The Glass Merchant of Scent

By Jo Phillips

Islands linked together by water; trade associated with them bought via these waterways from far off eastern distinations. The silk trade routes (a series of ancient trade networks that connected China and the Far East with countries in Europe and the Middle East) allowed the city of Venice to bloosom from its central position within these important seafaring journies, where silks and spices were the key currencies, leaving this floating city a lasting legacy of both perfume and glass. Find out more here in The Glass Merchant of Scent.

The city of Venice is somewhat unique being made up of 118 islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, the northeastern part of Italy, which therefore means the main means of public transportation consists of motorised waterbuses.

A city rich in heritage, being part of the historic trade routes that included commerce in silk, grain, and spices, its strategic position on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, within reach of the Byzantine Empire and traders from the Near East, allowed the city to become a hub, a connoctor of sales, receiving goods from the east by sea and selling them forward into the nearby European marketplaces.

Venetian merchants of this era established links that reached as far as the Mongol Empire, Persia, as well as Armenia, the Caucasus and Asia Minor, spanning many branches of the historic Silk Roads. Not just the items that were traded, crafts were also disseminated from far away regions including the art of glassmaking which this area became synonymous with.

Yet strangly a law from November 8, 1291, confined most of Venice’s glassmaking industry to the Island of Murano (a cluster of islands linked by short bridges) and so when we think of the most elegant glass in the world we make the association of Murano in Venice. One of the most important items perseved in glass is of course delicate fragrances. And so the connection of this city to glass and perfume.

The Merchant of Venice perufmery brings togehter these two associated crafts into one. Bourne by the Vidal family who have a long tradion within the scented arts with over a century of experience, the line is a celebration of  the cultural uniqueness of Venice.

Murano Island (Venice) and hand-blown Murano glass flowers

The family rooted so deeply live and love the city so Marco Vidal who is the CEO of the Perfume line shares a few of his favourite places. There is nothign like hearing first hnd from those situated as to the best places to visit in a city.

.Cent:Where is your favourite place to have a drink or coffee?

Marco: Certainly the Caffee Florian, the most beautiful café in the world since 1702. It’s located in St.Mark’s Square

.Cent:Your Favourite historical place in Italy and why?

Marco:The Island of Torcello, where the dream of an impossible city built on water was born. It’s magical

.Cent: what is your favourite food market in Venice and why?

Marco:I love and enjoy shopping at the ancient Rialto Market where fisherman and farmers present their specialities under the Gothic arches alongside the Grand Canal. 

.Cent:What is your favourite Street in Venice that you like to go to and why?

Marco: Walking in the Zattere area, the most pleasant and happy stroll one can take.

.Cent:What is your favourite restaurant for a special occasion and why?

Marco: I love trying new things and there are so many special restaurants in Venice that it’s hard to choose. I can recommend Ristorante Da Fiore, expensive but lovely quality of fresh produce and food and an excellent cook – Mara.

The latest launch from the Venezian perfumer is called Vinegia 21, a celebration of the city and its 1600th hundred anniversary, which is part of the Murano collection.

The opening certyianly rfletcs the history and connection with the spice route so find Saffron, Cinnamon Bark Laos Orpur (Cinnamon bark oil) set off with a soft swenees via a crunchy Praline accord.

In the middle see more of those scents and paces so assocaite with the region, Oud Accord, Atlas Cedarwood Morrocco Orpur (Orpur meaning high end natural ingrdients) Akigalawood, (synthetic molecule with hints of patchouli, pepper and agarwood.) Patchouli & Indonesia Orpur; worldly facets echoing travel tales and finally its base sumptous Vanilla Absolute Madagasacar Orpur Sanalwood Autralian Orpur Resinoid Myrrh Orpur and Insence Somalia Orpur.

Delicous haunting and rich with multiple facets of travel and time, accient to modern; a reflection of the city and its dymanic hertiage.

The blue and gold botle as dymanic as the juice contined inside and as refective of the craft of the city and the perfume contined within.

Available now as an exclusive to Harrods find out more about the wonderful hertitage and all the other fragrances from The Merchant of Venice. com Here

If yiu enjoyed reading The Glass Merchant of Scent then why not read Gonzo Journalism Here