Ludovico Borsari was born in Parma in the mid-19th century and started out as a barber before turning to perfumery and running his own business from 1897. His creation “Violetta di Parma” was a great success: first the Italian, then the entire European aristocracy fell in love with the violet-based fragrance.
An endearing anecdotal legend surrounds the creation of “Violetta di Parma.” Marie Louise of Habsburg, second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, arrived in the Italian city as Grand Duchess Maria Luigia of Parma. She loved the violet from her homeland and used to write letters in violet ink. Her signature was quite literally the violet: she “signed” with a violet flower. She had these flowers sent to her from Vienna and also had them planted in the botanical gardens of Parma. In a nearby monastery, essential oil of violets was distilled for her by the monks and a very personal perfume was made, reserved only for the Grand Duchess. After her death, the recipe remained hidden behind monastery walls until 1870, when Ludovico Borsari visited that very monastery and discovered the Grand Duchess’s signature fragrance recipe. With his find, he was now able to delight the Italian aristocratic ladies of the late 19th century.
However Ludovico may have come up with the exact composition, with “Violetta di Parma” he captured Parma’s trademark – the violet imported by the Grand Duchess and then settled in Parma – in a fragrance, thus establishing the great perfume tradition of this city. “Violetta di Parma” also triumphed in the 20th century, when the bourgeois middle class became equally enthusiastic about it in the twenties. Until the Second World War, new perfumes were developed and complemented the range.
Today, the Borsari 1870 company still sells the classic fragrance that was the breakthrough at the time, and “Acqua Classica”, the typical Italian cologne fragrance of the house (as well as some perfume assortment boxes as a Parma souvenir). This very traditional direction is complemented by a modern range: “Borsari ARTE”. The intense EdC perfumes, composed unconventional and contemporary, span the portfolio of the brand very wide: from classic and time-honored to very present and modern, with avant-garde ambition.