The Antica Spezieria, today Erboristeria (Herbal Products), was the hall reserved for sales from 1612 to 1848 which was accessed from the Great Cloister of Santa Maria Novella through the portal designed by Matteo Nigetti.
The hall is embellished by the rich stucco decoration of the eighteenth century vaulted ceiling, with fantastic animals, sphinxes, dragons, royal eagles, masks, festoons of fruit and roses, in fact all the motifs dear to the eighteenth century repertory.
Some elements, the ribbons and festoons, are repeated in the wooden carving that tops the seventeenth century cabinets. At the end of the hall on the sides of the portal there are two large angels, each holding a candelabra in gilded wood, dating to the XVIII century. In the cabinet located in the entrance wall, at the centre of the carving there is a garland of roses in gilded wood, topped by a crown, inside which is depicted the mystic marriage of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria.
When retracing in broad terms the history of the herbalism of Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, it is logical and natural to return to the ancient traditions and follow the same scientific precision with which the Dominican friars in centuries past dedicated themselves to studying and preparing herbal-based medicines and products.