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Rome Shopping: HISTORIC PHARMACIES

The center of Rome is full of shops that have been there for a hundred years or more. They are part of an association of Negozi Storici, historic stores, and in each of them you’re likely to find a directory that leads you to all the others. Not all of them are fabulous. Some are just plain old. And many of them have gone through major transformations over the decades. But the pharmacies tend to remain just that, still dispensing medicines after so many years. And they are magnificent, with frescoed ceilings, original carved wooden counters, and vestiges of times past in the light fixtures. Here is a guide to the best and the rest:

Farmacia Fatebenefratelli dal 1548
Adjacent to the Hospital of the Fatebenfratelli (founded by a religious order whose name, loosely translated means "the do-good" brothers), this pharmacy has been continuously open since 1548. The pomegranate, carved into the wooden ceiling, refers to the Spanish city of Granada, home of the order’s early patron, San Giovanni di Dio. The hospital’s maternity ward is famous, so you’ll find a large department for newborns here, as well as a nice range of other pharmaceuticals. Isola Tiberina tel. 06.683 7383

Farmacia della Scala dal 1597
The Carmelitani Scalzi (Carmelites without shoes), who were masters of herbal medicine, set up their convent on this site in 1597. The farmacia was designed to store the medicinal herbs the brothers grew in their gardens. Here, they also opened a school offering a six-year course in herbal medicine, as well as a research center. Today there is a modern pharmacy on the ground floor, but the old frescoes, stained glass ceiling and wooden cases remain. Upstairs, the herbal laboratory, now a museum, is open to groups by appointment only. To arrange to see the museum call 06.841 4209 and be prepared to leave an offering.
Piazza della Scala 23 tel. 06.435 33461

Antica Farmacia Reale dal 1687
The pharmacy’s s name refers to its regal history. It has been operating continuously at this location since 1795 and was appointed the official pharmacy to Italy’s first royal family in 1870. Today you’ll find expert, English -speaking pharmacists who will provide you with a wide range of herbal and holistic remedies as well as just about any medication your doctors back home can prescribe — and if they don’t have it in stock, they’ll get it for you within hours. Open continuously Monday through Friday, 8 am- 8 pm.
Via del Gambero 13/a (Corner of Via della Vite) tel. 06.679 2220.

And if you're in the area, stop in at:
Farmacia in Lucina dal 1813
Piazza in Lucina, 27 tel. 06. 687 1525

Farmacia Ripetta dal1860
Via di Ripetta, 23 tel.06 3612137

Farmacia Chieffo-Santi dal 1870
Via Capo le Case, 47 tel.066790894

Farmacia Tor Millina dal 1890
Via di Tor Millina, 6 tel.06 687 4628

Farmacia Tomacell dal 1912
Via Tomacelli, 1 tel.0668300735

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In Rome Now Travel Guide: Shopping in Rome, Italy