Burning Paper

incense  carta armeniaPaper that reacts like incense. Famous throughout Europe, these amazing papers, called carta  d’Armenia are exactly as they were in the 16th century. Fibrous looking papers with resinous scents of frankincense and myrrh. Folded into a fan-like shape and carefully lit the slip of paper unfolds into wisps of sweetly scented smoke like a concertina releasing perfumed notes . Smoldering little strips of paper with a breath from the Renaissance.

My carta d’ Armenia burning papers are from Santa Maria Novella Farmacia in Florence. A fragrant universe filled with terra-cotta jars and gilded urns that was already well-known in Dante’s time. A weary traveler could benefit from knowing about the ancient workshops and antica farmacia (pharmacies) where burning papers with healing ingredients create an Italian sense of benessere. They can be found all over Italy if you know where to look.