Cortese Venezia - rediscover the secret perfumes of Venice

A superb collection of fragrances based on authentic, long-lost formulas.


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25 October 2013

For centuries, Venice was at the heart of the perfume industry, at the crossroads between east and west, where aromatic oils, essences and natural extracts reached the city from many exotic locations. The city was at its height as a maritime power, and perfume was an important status symbol.

Perfumiers created unique, personal fragrances on commission from the noblemen and women of Venice. They experimented with new substances and techniques, introducing the use of alcohol to dilute essences, and many other innovations. In 1555, Giovanventura Rosetti published the book 'Secreti nobilissimi dell'arte profumatoria,' with over 300 formulas for cosmetic creams and powders, and perfumes.

When the Most Serene Republic of Venice lost its power and became part of the empires of France and Austria, the secret recipes were relegated to dusty tomes where they lay forgotten for two centuries. Giovanna de Strasser from the contemporary Venetian perfume house Cortese Venezia, together with her husband Loris, conducted meticulous research, rediscovering these fascinating perfumes, bringing them back to life and adapting them to how we live today.

For example, Nobilis, based on a formula originally created for Giulia Gonzaga, is a classic, sophisticated and delicate fragrance based on mandarin, cedar, jasmine, amber and vetiver. For men, there is Capitano, a formulation inspired by Francesco Morosini, a hero of the Venetian Republic's naval forces: a rugged and intense perfume that expresses the freedom of the sea. 

Today, you can explore and select fragrances by Cortese Venezia at Alessandra Zoppi, Cesana, Calle Larga XXII Marzo, San Marco, Venice, tel. +39 041 5227 789. The boutique is right opposite Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo. More information from