We are all familiar with the pleasure of a good shower after a tiring day: the relaxation of water, and the joy of soap foam against our skin. The use of soap dates back several centuries in the past, but it was in Florence, Italy, where, in the times of the Medici, the making of this product became an art on itself. Thanks to the support of the Medici and with the best apothecaries of their time, the guild of Soap Masters came into being, and in their honor there is nowadays an alley in the heart of Florence named Via dei Saponai.
After the Second World War, a young boy rode his bicycle through the bumpy streets of Florence on his way to the butcher’s. Whilst trying to avoid the biggest holes, he didn´t see a stone and fell. Covered in dust and with his knees scraped, the boy noticed that one of his bicycle’s tyres had gone flat, and by the time he made it to the market there was no meat left. The butcher, seeing him in such a state, decided to give him the leftover grease, and told him that, if he mixed it with soda, it would turn into soap. The boy then ran over to buy the soda, and came back home without meat and battered, but with a shine to his eyes. He borrowed his mother’s laundry cooper pan and locked himself in the garage. For days he tried over and over, until at last a white and thick paste formed at the bottom of the pan. He dried it in a net, and once it was compact, he sliced it and tried it first with family members, and then with friends, and friends of friends.
Such is the story of how Nesti Dante, one of the most relevant soap makers of Europe, came to be in 1947. This exclusive family business has followed the saying of its founder for generations: “Noi lavoreremo sempre non per essere i più grandi ma per essere i migliori” (We will work not to be the biggest but to be the greatest). Added to their strong conviction, their quality comes from the traditional pan-cooking procedure that, although it slows the process, it allows for the use of essential oils, a better selection of the best prime materials, and, in general, a better attention to the making of their product. The saponification process takes four days, resulting in a more durable, free of impurities soap base. After that, a twenty-four-hour rest lets the soap release any excess glycerine, which falls to the bottom of the pan and is discarded. The soap is then made into strands that are rolled three times using a specially built stainless-steel machine. The result is a soft, uniform paste that is ready to become a part of one of its creator’s exclusive collections. This artisanal process of Italian excellence is also friendly with the environment: all its resulting soaps are natural, vegan, biodegradable, paraben free, and cruelty-free, which makes this brand into a benchmark for the making of high-quality soap worldwide.
Nesti Dante makes a wide range of soaps with natural ingredients: a delicate combination of flowers, fruit, gold, and even vegetables that allow for various positive effects on the skin. The Dolce Vivere collection is a tribute to beauty and the Italian way of life: made from flowers, its soap bars conjure the most iconic cities of this country. Sicily is represented by the fragrance of bougainvillea, sea salt and papyrus tree, while the bar for Pisa is made from white magnolia, apricot blossom and lilium. Roma is made from oleander, muscat and fig; Florence, from blue iris and morning dew, while Milan is made from lily of the valley and oak musk. On the other hand, if one is looking for the benefits, the collection Il Frutetto is the perfect fit. The fig and almond milk bar is ideal for hydrating and calming skin discomfort, while the citrus and bergamot bar has a refreshing effect and will leave you energized for the day. The delicious pomegranate and black currant soap nurtures and tones up the skin; red grape and cranberries will contribute with essential oils that will leave your skin soft and radiant. You can also use the peach and melon bar to tone up your skin, or, if you desire to attain both nutrition and hydration, the olive oil and tangerine bar is just for you. You can also reach the perfect detox with the mint and pear quince bar, that will drain and purify any imperfections from your skin; the black cherry and berries bar has an antioxidant effect and will protect your skin against the day’s wear. Lastly, if what you need is to relax from a stressful day, the medlar and jujube soap will give you the rest that you deserve.
On the luxury range one can find the Luxury Black Soap, the family’s jewel. Its making process is a well-kept secret that has been passed down from generation to generation and is rich in properties and benefits for the skin. Made from ashes of plants and African tree barks, banana, oats, and cacao pods, it helps increase blood circulation and promotes cell renewal. It also contains shea butter, which helps your skin feel soft, fresh, and smooth. A touch of patchouli, hot pink pepper, hyacinth and jasmine give it an opulent and unexpected fragrance.
Nesti Dante is the Florentine essence that is carried on the skin; beyond its excellent elaboration, each soap bar is a sensorial experience which, no matter where in the world, will not fail to transport you to its native Italy.