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Interview

Capturing the Spirit of Italy: A Journey with Eau d’Italie

From Mediterranean shrubbery to sun-kissed terracotta, Eau d’Italie takes you on olfactory journey throughout Italy with blissful pit-stops in Positano, Venice, and Paestum.

This story begins on the Amalfi Coast at Le Sirenuse, an award-winning 5-star hotel in Positano. After the second World War, four Neapolitan brothers moved to this small village and opened up their home as a petite hotel. Quaintly decorated according to the family’s personal taste, the hotel became a haven for elegant guests to indulge in hospitality and a “delight of the senses.” After spending her childhood at Le Sirenuse and becoming a filmmaker, Marina Sersale teamed up with her husband Sebastián Alvarez Murena to incorporate the memories of her seaside childhood into a fragrance. From Mediterranean shrubbery to sun-kissed terracotta, Eau d’Italie takes you on olfactory journey through Southern Italy and beyond with blissful pit-stops in Positano, Venice, and Paestum.

From scent diffusers, bath salts, and candles to shower gels, shampoo, and milk, Eau d’Italie captures the romance and passion of the seaside in each product and fragrance. The best part? You get to keep a little piece of Italy in your own home, in your luscious locks, and in your silky skin. We joined Marina to retrace her steps and break down the stories behind Eau d’Italie— and made a few stops in Positano on the way.

Roberto Mango
Describe the journey of an Eau d’Italie scent of your choice.

I think the eponymous Eau d’Italie Eau de Toilette is a very good example. It was our first fragrance, and we wanted it to encapsulate the feeling of actually being at Le Sirenuse, so we worked around the scent of terracotta heated by the sun, which is so evocative of the terrace of Le Sirenuse. In summer the sun heats up the terracotta tiles and the result is a very distinctive scented note, an intriguing mineral smell that lingers in the air. Once we had created this earthy mineral note, we embroidered around it elements evocative of Positano: top notes of blackcurrant buds and bergamot reminiscent of a cool sea breeze and a whiff of frankincense like the one that greets you when you pass by the church in Positano. The magic worked, and Eau d’Italie doesn’t fail to transport you back to Le Sirenuse, which to us means we got to where we wanted.

What is the ultimate starter pack for a late-night getaway with Eau d’Italie products?

A bottle of signature Eau d’Italie fragrance and it’s namesake Signature Eau d’Italie candle.

Other than Positano, what other places in the world have sensory experiences that inspire and excite you?

It’s interesting you should ask that, because after we launched the first Eau d’Italie fragrance we started working on what would become our second fragrance, Paestum Rose, inspired by the famous roses of Paestum – a stark valley south of Positano where the stunning archeological remains of three ancient Greek temples are still standing. After that came Sienne l’Hiver and Bois d’Ombrie, inspired by autumn and winter in Tuscany and Umbria, but it wasn’t until we launched Baume du Doge, a fragrance inspired by Venice, that we actually realized we were creating an olfactory journey through Italy. The rest is history, and over the years Eau d’Italie has become a collection that portrays Italy and its multifaceted personalities.

Where else in the world would you like to be right now?

Japan has my heart. I was there two years ago on assignment to photograph the Art Islands, and it was a deep revelation. I had always been interested in Japan, but what awaited me there was far beyond anything I expected. I really look forward to going back.

What story is Eau d’Italie telling next?

It’s an important moment for us, Eau d’Italie is turning 15. It goes without saying that to us, it seems as if it were yesterday that we were working on our first scents… So, for this 15th anniversary, we worked on a fragrance that represents the main feature of Italy, i.e. its being so very “Easy to Love,” which is the name of the fragrance. Easy to Love is a uniquely contemporary fig and floral fragrance, and, as it should be, is simply irresistible!

What are the some of the secret ingredients in Eau d’Italie signature scents? Can you find them anywhere else in the world?

I think the secret ingredients of the Eau d’Italie scents are balance and elegance. What I mean by this is that – a bit like what happens with painting and cooking – more than the actual ingredients, it’s about the hand that works with them. At Eau d’Italie right from the beginning we have been blessed with being able to work with the top masters of today’s perfumery. The results speak for themselves and this to us is the real benchmark for comparing perfumes. Whoever smells them will know what I mean.

What are five must-have items for your travel case?

Ha! OK, here I go: A book. A light, chic shawl. An inflatable cushion because I have a bad back. A lip balm. Ear-plugs. A second book just in case (and sometimes an extra spare one). I have this nightmare of getting stuck somewhere in the world (bad enough), and having nothing to read!

A Local’s Guide to Positano:
For a night out…

The Music on the Rocks, the club on the beach in Positano to which I’ve been going since I was a teenager (A bit less now, I have to admit).

For a Saturday brunch…

Of course at Le Sirenuse. I realize this could sound like self-promotion but the honest truth is nothing can beat it. It’s pure perfection, from the drinks (a brunch with no Bloody Mary would be no brunch), to the variety of food, the way it is presented, the unique charm of the staff, and the fact that whatever you lay your eyes on, it’s beautiful!

For a hearty meal…

Da Adolfo, the little restaurant at Laurito – a tiny beach down the coast. Absolutely lovely traditional Italian food.

For a new outfit…

Actually… At Emporio Le Sirenuse. My cousin Carla Sersale makes the most beautiful dresses, which I literally wear all year round. I buy them as soon as the new collections are out to make sure I get my size. I love that fact they are both gorgeous and very smart, yet also extremely comfortable.

For a relaxing retreat…

The Dolce Vitality retreat at Le Sirenuse, in spring and autumn. The perfect combination of meditation, exercise, walks in the mountains and food which is delicious yet very light. A magic reboot for body and mind.

Describe Eau d’Italie in three words.

Contemporary Italian chic.

Teresa Deely

Teresa Deely is a junior at Columbia University majoring in English and Creative Writing. As President of the Columbia University Glee Club, she loves to sing, make music, and celebrate multiple modes of artistic expression. She believes that one’s skin is yet another canvas and vehicle for art, and has loved styling her hair and applying makeup from a young age. While she has spent most of her time in educating youth and leading enrichment programs for children, she is highly motivated in discovering new ways to care for herself and sharing them with others.

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