The Great Sales Hall is the first room you find when entering the Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. Originally it was one of the chapels of the monastery, dedicated to San Niccolò di Bari, patron saint of the wealth Acciaioli family. According to tradition, the chapel was a gift of recognition of Dardano Acciaioli to the Dominicans, after being miraculously cured thanks to the treatments of the monks.
In the XVIII century, the chapel underwent major transformations. The monks had the entrance open from Via della Scala and set the chapel up as a store, since it had by now deteriorated considerably.
The most significant restoration took place in 1848, when the pharmacy’s increasing fame made it necessary to create a hall to welcome the clients.
The frescoes of the vaulted ceiling, painted by Paolino Sarti, represent the four continents symbolising the fame of the Pharmacy and its products around the world.
American, in the first canopy when entering, is depicted by an American Indian with bow and arrows.
Europe is represented in the canopy to the rights resting on a Corinthian capital, with sceptre and diadem. At her feet, a lyre, a hammer and a book.
Africa is personified by a man, who shades himself with a palm leaf, on the back ground characteristic elements of that land, such as the desert and the pyramids.
Lastly, Asia is personified by a woman with oriental features, veiled and surrounded by colourful birds with long tails.