Florence is known for its antique pharmacies offering various goods from perfumes to skincare. This hand cream comes from the gift shop of the Abbey of St. Minias on the Mountain (it. Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte), which is home to one of the oldest temples in Florence the Basilica of St. Minias on the Mountain, constructed in 1018. It’s a beautiful structure created in the Romanesque style. The Abbey’s gift shop sells wine and honey from their own gardens, a variety of liquors, sweets, and ointments as well as many other products prepared by the monks living in the Abbey. This is one of the ways in which the monks support themselves.
I buy this hand cream whenever I am in Florence because it works, it’s artisanal, it supports the community of monks. Moreover, this Abbey’s products are not just over-fragranced nothings. The hand cream has mainly oils in its base. The first after water is sesame seed oil, which is rich in omega acids which help to restore skin’s barrier, it is rich in antioxidants and has a calming effect on the skin. Then follows good, old glycerine, olive oil, beeswax, and shea butter. We can also find horse chestnut extract, which is a plant full of antioxidant and is known for soothing the skin. There are also St. John’s wort and Italian strawflower extracts, aloe vera as well as vitamins A, C & E. The formula contains lemon peel oil and fragrance, but not in excessive amounts. I can still smell the scent of sesame seed oil, so there isn’t too much fragrance. If you aren’t particularly sensitive to those ingredients, you will be fine.
It’s one of my favourite hand creams. It’s oily, but not in the sense of mineral oil oily, if you know what I mean. I like to use it a lot as a nighttime treatment, a thick layer of this cream and a pair of cotton gloves can change the state of your hands overnight. It is fine to use throughout the day, but due to the high content of oils, I recommend applying it in small amounts, as it can leave an oily residue on your hands. The hand cream is very rich and nourishing – my chronically dry hands love it. Thanks to this cream my hands stay moisturised for longer even after washing and not following with any moisturiser. It is truly a treat for your hands, and you will see a difference after one use. I highly recommend grabbing a jar or two while visiting Florence. Also, get the lemon biscuits from the shop, there are delicious!
Ingredients: Water, sesamum indicum (seasame) oil, glycerine, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, cera alba (beeswax), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate, oleyl erucate, hydrogenated olive oil, cetyl alcohol, olea europea (olive) oil unsaponifiables, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chesnut) bark extract, hypericum perforatum flower/leaf/stem extract, helichrysum italicum extract, aloea barbadensis leaf extract, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, ascorbic acid, citrus medica limonum oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, xanthan gum, benzyl alcohol, sodium benzonate, sodium dehydroacetate, lacitic acid, limonene, citral. (packaging).
The hand cream retails for €9 (50ml) available at the Abbey’s gift shop.
On the left the Basilica and the Abbey, on the right the view of the city from the Mountain.