The Parma violet represents, for the world of Italian perfumery, a historical and cultural heritage to be proud of. Unfortunately in recent times the huge request for perfumes created by the fashion houses has contributed massively to the gradual disappearance of many of Parma’s famous perfume companies. Sadly today even the most famous brand "Borsari" is no longer produced in Parma and the brand is now property of a multinational company.
Violets have been used for their perfume since Greek times.
Athens was referred to as the “Violet-Crowned City,” because Ion, the legendary founder of Athens, was welcomed by water nymphs who gave him violets as signs of their good wishes. Thus violets became the city's emblem, and no Athenian home, altar or wedding was complete without them
Romans made wine from violet blossoms, and decorated banquet tables with them believing that the flowers could prevent drunkenness. On the mornings after their festivities, Romans wore violet wreaths to relieve hangovers. An ancient Roman legend tells of the goddess Venus becoming jealous of maidens that were prettier than she. The maidens were battered and bruised until they turned into blue violets
In Renaissance paintings Mary holding the baby Jesus, is often depicted with violets to symbolize her humility or as a premonition of Jesus’ death, as in painting "Madonna Benois"(c. 1475-1478) by Leonardo da Vinci.
Ludovico Borsari, born in Parma was a pioneer of the perfume industry. At the end of the 19th century using new techniques, he industrialised the production process and was able to make perfume available to a much wider range of people. His first perfumes were all based on the Violet. Violet fragrance was exported worldwide from Parma. In 1950 there were 6 perfume manufacturers in Parma.