The island of Ortygia is a special place. It encapsulates a world where cultural etymology is living and breathing in crumbling baroque facades, Greek temples and Romanesque cathedrals. Where black lava is ubiquitous, woven into the fabric of the buildings, the beaches and the soil as an ever-present reminder of Mount Etna. Where the air carries the exotic scent of fresh blood oranges, cactus and eucalyptus. It is here in this small and varied island that the beautiful range of Ortigia was born.
It was in a moment when founder Sue Townsend - best known for her involvement in Crabtree & Evelyn and Duchy Originals - stayed on the organic estate of the San Giuliano family in Sicily. Townsend found a meeting of minds in Ilara Balduino Sartori, who was born in Sicily and lives in Florence, embodying the elegance of both. For these women, the dream was to convey the romance of Sicily, its plant life and wildlife through beautiful experiences and presentation, fuelled by a particular love of the small island and of Ortygia itself, the historic centre of the of Syracuse.
Producing bath and body products that are all based on natural and traditional perfumes of Sicily, made using indigenous plants and flowers fused with olive, palm and almond oil, the inspiring women have achieved their goal with a collection of perfumes, candles and diffusers, soaps, shower gels, oils, salts and creams for men and women that all give a sense of Sicily’s balmy climate.
They carry you through the day with orange blossom, lime, wild fennel, rosemary, oregano and thyme scenting your journey. Theirs is a world that uses 100% Sicilian salt, where bath oil is made with avocado oil, and where glycerine soaps are jewel like in their bright translucent colouring.
Local art and culture is depicted in every piece of ornate packaging. Each item tells a story. The famous leopard leitmotif - a nod to Sicily’s proximity to Africa. Palm trees reminiscent of the area’s exotic vegetation. The elephant on Sandalo products - an homage to a sculpted elephant that was given to the city of Catania by its Indian trading partners under the Romans, or the much-loved florals on the Fico d’India products akin to mosaics found in one of Ortygia’s ancient places of worship.