The Monastery of Camaldoli is in the heart of a secular forest, in one of the wild and impenetrable areas of the central Appennine ridge. It was built there in 1024, on the Tosco-romagnolo Apennines near Arezzo, by San Romualdo, a monk and Benedictine abbot, who made it the hub and center of the Camaldoli Congregation.
Faithful to Benedictine tradition, the monks of Camaldoli have always combined, over the centuries, contemplative, spiritual, productive and working life. In particular, given the unspoiled and isolated nature of the area, those who decided to dedicate their lives to God in the Monastery of Camaldoli, from the start they began to produce all that could guarantee their survival: food, medicines, cosmetics and hygiene products.
The dense forests surrounding the monastery provided them with the raw materials needed for this production. In addition, the interest of the Camaldolese monks in the study of nature in all its forms helped them exploit the surrounding natural resources. This has allowed over the centuries the emergence of a production of cosmetics and essential oils that still today make the monastic community of Camaldoli famous worldwide.
The ancient pharmacy of the Camaldoli Monks is one of the first examples of hospital ever recorded: aromatic herbs and medicinal herbs were studied here, and they prepared powders, infusions, decoctions and anything else that could contribute to the healing of not only the monks, but of the many pilgrims in search for help as well.
In the Old Pharmacy there were antidotes against every poison, creams to treat wounds, patches, but also essential and cosmetic oils for hygiene and body care. The extraordinary products produced in the Camaldoli Antique Pharmacy became well known over time, and are still sold and used all over the world. We think of Oil 31, consisting of 31 essential oils extracted from as many officinal herbs, renowned for its endless healing, refreshing, balsamic, toning and disinfecting properties, made according to a particular recipe passed over the centuries, or Laurus 48, a liquor made from the infusion of several medicine plants collected in the area of the monastery with tonic and digestive properties.