Aromatic Italy? – Planet Botanix Ottawa

Aromatic Italy?

7 days ago I was gazing into a sky filled with bright sunlight and a vast expanse of shining white clouds. Out my window. On the plane. On my way to Italy. 

I have been extremely fortunate this year. First I travelled to Australia in pursuit of indigenous aromatic plants, now to seek bergamot and other citrus oils native to Italy! And whatever else I find along the way.

Now one week into my Italian adventure. My senses have been filled with the colours, architecture and flowing elegance of the Italian language.

However, I have yet to find a store specializing in essential oils. There are many Erboristas, which have some oils, but primarily deal in synthetic perfumes and herbal tea blends. The oils I thought would be ubiquitous are not in evidence.  When we asked in our stilted Itlaian, half miming what we were looking for, the clerks went behind the cash, into cupboards and under shelves to pull out the few they stocked- eucalyptus, lavender and rosemary. Hmmm. What’s a girl to do? An on-line search turned up perfume stores and farmacias specializing in homeopathy (which is awesome, by the way). Distillers are outside of town and not necessarily open to the public.

Has it become such an online world that we cannot physically find specialized products like essential oils in stores? Or is it my naivete to assume that I would find oils with ease in their country of origin? Regardless, this trip has expanded my world view once again and I feel so very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience so much beauty over the past ten days. It has been a truly sensual experience, sampling olive oils with sharp fruity undertones, smelling fragrant rose bushes and  boxwood, visiting medieval churches with beautiful frescos or walking the ancient walls protecting the old city of Lucca. 

©2019Heather Garrod is a Certified Aromatherapist and owner of Planet Botanix at 301 Bank St near Somerset. She gives workshops on creating natural bodycare and has been creating natural bodycare for over two decades. The shop offers natural alternatives to commercial products and features a holistic therapy clinic.