The Olfactory Lounge is a scented and secret place in the streets of Naples. Someone whispers that it is hidden somewhere in Via Filangieri: those who found it followed the scented trail.
That day in Naples the temperature was mild.
She had been informed that the seasons in that city alternate in a particular way: hot summers, cold winters. In the middle, no half measure.
She had been told a lot of things about this place. She had learnt the saying: "You see Naples, you die" and now it started to make sense.
Naples seemed to her a wonderful place. Breathtaking views, delicious food and warm people. After two and a half weeks between Venice, Rome and finally Naples, she could say: the holiday was proceeding in full swing.
Of course, there was still that not-very-tiny problem: she had not yet managed to find a perfume to bring home, one capable of preserve the essence of her journey. Back home, she had put together a pretty good collection. Her holiday in Italy was mainly intended to enrich her collection with Mediterranean scents that one can find only in southern Italy.
Unfortunately now she realized that she would return home empty-handed. The long search had proved fruitless. Of the many perfumes she had encountered on her Italian journey, no one had remained dear to her.
She was now in Via Filangieri, heading towards the Palazzo delle Arti in Naples for an exhibition of the works of one of the artists she admired most, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. She would not have missed it for anything in the world.
She was undecided about the direction to take: the map she had seemed unreadable and she didn't even think of using the navigator on the phone as she was not a fan of technology. Hoping that some passers-by would understand English, she stopped a lady who drew her attention because of the huge pink bag she was carrying.
As the kind lady began to explain to her which direction to take, she lost concentration. There was something in the air that had captured her. Yet she still couldn't understand what it was.
She wasn’t listening anymore to the directions. She only understood that her position was precisely at the turn between Piazza dei Martiri to Via Filangieri, and that she had to cover it for almost a kilometer. In the blink of an eye the lady disappeared, but she stood still on the spot without knowing what to do.
She felt something: a note of musk in the air, this was certain, but there was something related to that musk that made it so special. But where did it come from?
Uncertain, she took a little walk towards a newsstand at number 72 on the other side of the street. She would ask for information about the road to take.
It was a dead end, the man could’t speak English. She gave it up and pulled out the map again, trying to figure it where to go. She took shelter in the doorway immediately next to the newsstand so she could read the map better, and it was then that she felt the same scent as before. Only this time it was much more intense.
It was something beyond description. Elusive and mysterious, that smell took her completely.
She crossed the road chasing it, but then she lost it. So she went back to the sidewalk. It was there, that perfume. Musk still distinguished, but there were also other aromas that she could not identify. As she was staring at the road, to her right appeared the lady with a huge pink bag, coming from inside the building and going towards the Palazzo delle Arti. There was no doubt: that lady was taking away with her a sillage that was now unmistakable.
She turned around and took a few uncertain steps toward the inside of the building. To her right there was a large elevator, but something beyond it caught her attention. She distinctly felt the scented wake and with certain steps headed towards the yard of the building.
There it was, a little door that allowed a glimpse, inside, of a thousand perfumed wonders. The logo on the door left no room for further doubt, she knew the name. Bruno Acampora Profumi.
Her scented search was about to be completed.