Do you remember that scene in the movie "Love Actually" where Rowan Atkinson's character is helping to pack up the necklace for his cheating client at Christmas? It's all meant to be done in quite a hurry, but he wants to make the parcel look enchanting for his customer, and it takes ages and ages, with his client blowing steam out of his ears, worrying that he's going to get caught by his wife?
Yes? Well, I had a very similar packing situation (not the cheating though!) in the amazing Acqua di Parma store at the base of the Spanish Steps in Rome earlier this year. It was hysterical and my hubby and I couldn't actually make eye contact or we were going to burst out laughing.
I had seen this gorgeous scent, Arancia di Capri, in the Alitalia Duty Free magazine in November last year on my way to Cagliari, Sardinia. I thought I'd best try before I bought it, so when I was in Cagliari, I found a store selling it, so I had a good sniff and loved the fragrance (even though I think it might be mens - who cares?).
On the flight back to Zurich, the Alitalia staff couldn't be bothered to bring the Duty Free cart around, so I couldn't buy it - grrrr. After that I looked for it everywhere, and couldn't find it anywhere, so I was thrilled to find out that there was a brand new, and seriously upscale, Acqua di Parma store in Rome when we were there in February.
We were on our way back to the hotel to collect our bags and head to the airport as I ducked in to the store to quickly grab a bottle and then run to a taxi - but no, that was not to be. As I discovered, the Acqua di Parma experience is not to be rushed.
I was greeted by a rather gorgeous, impeccably dressed, male staffer who helped me take a bottle from the shelf, then tried to sell me an additional fragrance ("No, but thanks, we're in a bit of a hurry") whilst he balanced my bottle of fragrance on a dinky little tray and placed it on a dinky little counter.
I whipped out my credit card and was then escorted by another staff member, with my fragrance on the dinky little tray, to a beautiful little room where you pay. A different staff member lifted my fragrance off the tray, farewelled the tray carrier, and placed the fragrance on a monogrammed mat. He delicately sprayed some monogrammed tissue with a different fragrance and placed it in a very posh carry bag, making a little nest, before placing my bottle in the nest.
"Samples, Madam?" he enquired. "That would be lovely" I calmly said, whilst having internal hysteria over the whole thing, and trying not to get a case of the giggle snorts (not pretty). Out come a stack of beautifully packaged samples, more sprayed tissue, more nests, more delicate placing in the posh bag. Then a roll of ribbon was produced, a length measured and cut, sprayed with another fragrance, and tied to the ribbon handle of the posh bag.
Only then was I allowed to pay.
Now, every single fragrance that they sprayed about was absolutely gorgeous, and the entire experience was amazing. If you're in Rome, you must go there and buy even a small bottle (and that's all I bought), so you can have the Acqua di Parma experience - it's fabulous!
Boutique Acqua di Parma
Piazza di Spagna, 27