Antica Farmacia dei Monaci Camaldolesi
An ancient knowledge
Among the beeches of the Casentino forests, in the heart of Tuscany still uncontaminated, stands a unique place in the world. Camaldoli is a community of benedictine monks founded by San Romualdo a thousand years ago. The Hermitage and the Monastery testify to the religious fervour of these monks, divided between seclusion and communion. But the Hermitage and the Monastery were soon joined by another building, perhaps not so sacred but equally important.
The Ancient Pharmacy was a place of care, where the monks took care of the sick and treated them with their herbalist arts. And it could not be otherwise: it was the benedictine rule Ora et labora to impose on monks laboriousness and commitment. As expert connoisseurs of all the healing plants of the forest, they would prepare ointments, potions and remedies. The Spezieria (that’s how the pharmacy was called), entirely rebuilt in 1431 after the fire of 1276, still holds vases, beakers, mortars and scales.
And from pharmacy to kitchen, it was but a short step. The monks, now experts in plants and flowers, decided to devote themselves to good food as well. So they began to work the products of the land, with increasingly appreciable results. To today’s pilgrims, the Ancient Pharmacy of Camaldoli offers honey and candy, chocolate, mushrooms, syrups, jams and herbal teas, as well as oil and wine made by our super laborious monks.
What makes these products so special? Surely the history of the Hermitage, the pharmacy, the devotion of the monks. All this can be perceived and tasted in each of these delights. They are healthy and genuine products, respectful of the truest tradition. They tell the tale of an entire territory and community, making themselves spokesmen of its history and its values.
If it’s true that eating means incorporating a territory, with these products we have really found the perfect way to get to know a spectacular place. All it takes is to eat a candy from the Ancient Pharmacy to leave for a magical and enchanted place, rich in spirituality and beauty.