A number of very old pharmacies are still operating in Bologna. The oldest is reputedly Farmacia Contavalli at number 5 Via Mentana, dating back as a business to the 14th century.
However Farmacia Toschi, located at 89 Via San Felice, is unique in that alongside the modern pharmacy is preserved a room where we can get a glimpse into the world of the 18th century.
Adorning the walls are over 140 majolica vases, part of a larger collection, which have been dated to 1775.
It’s believed that these vases were made for the apothecary Pietro Galli, proprietor at the time, by the Viennese Fink brothers who then were operating in Bologna. They used a “third firing” process to produce a porcelain effect.
The beautiful interior is constructed using cherry wood.
Also preserved are furniture and equipment from later centuries.
The business was purchased by an ancestor of the current owners, Geltrude Conti Toschi, in 1852.
It’s well worth the walk down Via San Felice to visit this little capsule of history! Along the way you’ll pass many shoe shops, boutiques and jewellers.
The following references were used in preparing this post:
Farmacie a Bologna : Viaggio nel tempo e nell’arte
La farmacia del 700 trasformata in museo