Smell Festival takes place every year in Bologna (IT) at the end of May. It offers to a wide public the opportunity to explore the universe of smells, discover fine perfumery products an nurture their sensory skills.
Since 2010, Smell Festival promotes the olfactory culture opening a dialog with our artistic and cultural heritage of the city. At the Music Museum it holds meetings with perfume creators and fragrance experts coming from all over the world. In collaboration with Zinemoda, the Specialization Degree in Fashion of the University of Bologna, the Festival organizes seminars on creativity and research in the field of fragrances involving perfume makers and designers. Together with MAMbo, the Modern Art Museum, it fosters connections between visual and olfactory art.
The increasing participation of public and brands confirms the success of the Festival’s formula: an elegant fusion of art, culture and product experiences.
Smell Festival is promoted by Orablu, a non-profit association in collaboration with Regione Emilia Romagna, Istituzione Bologna Musei and a wide range of partners and private sponsors.


The logo for Smell Festival features a musk beetle (aromia moschata) inside an ornately decorated oval. The brand is inspired that of the Bortolotti company from Bologna, used at the end of the Nineteenth century until the mid-Twentieth century on its products, especially on its famous Acqua di Felsina. Referring to this, Smell Festival wants to pay tribute to a piece of Italian perfume history, forgotten by many but with a glorious past. As its inventor loved to say, Acqua di Felsina “perfumed the word”, or at least that of the Belle Époque.
The choice of Bortolotti to use the aromia moschata, a longhorn beetle known for its pleasant odor, so much that often one or two were kept in tobacco pouches to flavor it, was quite original. It became a sort of amulet, the presence of harmony proved the originality of the company’s fragrance against all attempts at imitation. Yet, the idea that an insect is associated with the world of fragrances may be astounding. Reflect for a minute on recent scientific discoveries that show that the perfume of flowers is an attempt by plants, perfected during their evolution, to imitate the perfume of insects to attract them for reproductive purposes.

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