DOPOBARBA DELLA TITA FROM FARMACIA SALVIONI
Two stories from Montalcino, one about the Farmacia Salvioni that starts in 1499 and one about La Tita that tells of post war times, first in UK and then in the Brunello gardens, and a dedicated aftershave, il dopobarba della Tita
by Donatella Cinelli Colombini
What binds theses two stories that tell of the true spirit of the Brunello town, is the Dopobarba della Tita (Tita’s aftershave) that the Farmacia Salvioni has created among its cosmetic production range, as it has been done for centuries in the old dispensaries, to dedicate it to their most faithful client.
It seems like something normal but instead the story contains an old and noble tale.
THE FARMACIA SALVIONI AND ITS HISTORY SINCE 1499
The Farmacia Salvioni is in the old market square in Montalcino next to the Loggia, where vases, copper objects, vegetables, chicken and grains were sold.
In 1499 in those 4 rooms used still today, Paolo Dei and Giacomo Marzuoli <<ilcinenses aromatarios in civitate ilcinea>>, were apothecaries, in other words pharmacists.
At the beginning of the 17th century the dispensary in the square changes hands it goes from the Tinelli family to the Angelini family and is active in the production of therapeutic preparations and of spices to cook with: pepper, almonds, isinglass … but also cakes such as pan pepato, copate and biricoccoli.
At the beginning of the 18th century the pharmacy changes hands several times until it is donated to the Ospedale di S. Maria della Croce who entrusts it to the young pharmacist Clemente Santi who later became the owner. The beautiful bronze mortar dated 1751 and with the coat of arms of S. Maria della Croce, still today proudly on show comes from that period.
In 1814 in the pharmacy we find his grandson, he too called Clemente Santi, with a degree in pharmacy from the University of Pisa where Giorgio Santi teaches natural history and has a fantastic reputation. Clemente was intellectual, very dynamic and with historic-artistic interests as well as agricultural ones, corresponds with the Accademia dei Georgofili, collaborates with the Giornale Agrario Toscano and can be considered one of the “founders” of the Brunello wine and of the Biondi Santi family.
THE MEDICINAL AN COSMETIC PRODUCTIONS OF THE OLD DISPENSARIES AND THE DOPOBARBA DELLA TITA
At the end of the 19th century the pharmacy was once again sold this time to Antonio Galassi and Flavio Angelini and a century later to Tito Costanti, all surnames that entwine with the history of the Montalcino wine, as well as with the cultural circles of the village. The pharmacy sells << medicines and grocery products of excellent quality and at a low price>> mineral water, Alchermes, Rum and Marsala. Stomatic china elixir, fine chocolate, confetti and drugs for Vermouth, scented powder in addition to the usual quinine.
The Salvioni’s buy it in 1905 and they pass it from father to son up until the present owners Roberto and Fabio who give it renewed impulse in the traditional production of health and cosmetic products. The Dopobarba della TITA (aftershave) is part of this noble tradition.
MARIO MARCONI CALLED LA TITA
And now to the second character of this story: Tita that is Mario Marconi. In this case the story concerns more recent times, those of the Italian economic miracle, the industrialization and depopulation of the countryside. For Montalcino, the post-war period is a period of poverty; the sharecropper production system is in crisis, the population falls, the shops close, and many decide to emigrate to Rome but also to America or England as Mario and his cousin Walter do. They return to Italy married to two English women and Mario chooses to immediately resettle in Montalcino which is still an isolated and poor place, where Brunello is only at the beginning of its dazzling international ascent, there are simple neighbourhood shops and very few tourists. Mario’s wife is not comfortable in this environment too far from England and decides to return to her native country.
MOSAIC, FOOTBALL AND GARDENS
Mario, decorator, bricklayer and mosaicist, once retired, dedicates himself to the gardens in front of the Town Hall of Montalcino, which the inhabitants call Il Prato. Here he becomes the creator of small scenes full of imagination. He also creates the children’s football school, I Giovanissimi di Gullit, inspired by AC MILAN, his favourite team. Even today it sets up the village native scene crib, creates natural corners full of flowers and characters that recall fairytales in a Montalcinese way.
The nickname Tita also has a very particular origin. Tita is a diminutive for Titina and derives from the song “Io cerco la Titina” brought to success in 1936 by Charile Chaplin in the film “Modern Times”. When young Mario was an authentic ladies’ man and often when he went missing from work his boss when looking for him would sing “I look for Titina, Titina my Titina, I search and I cannot find her, Who knows where she might be”.
THE DOPOBARBA DE LA TITA AFTERSHAVE
Always impeccably dressed in a double-breasted jacket and a Borsalino hat, TITA, as everyone calls him, it is a characteristic presence in Montalcino because he represents the time when this place was inhabited only by “Ilcinesi”, everyone changed before leaving the house, they greeted everyone they met in the street, there was an intense social life, friendships developed among families and lasted for generations.
TITA’s Aftershave is the delightful symbol of Montalcino’s ancient soul, made up of people rooted for centuries, capable of incessant criticism but also generous friendships.
A soul that, beyond Brunello’s millionaire investments, is the true, silent, supportive, proud and courageous identity of Montalcino, that force that over the centuries has always brought this place to national and international summits.