Despite my lifelong connection to the lush, green, and incredibly picturesque mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest, I've always been drawn to the sun- and sand-covered visuals of Italy. Now don't get me wrong—I loved my childhood exploring the rocky shorelines of the Pacific in the company of the towering evergreen trees, but a part of me has always dreamt of having my very own Eat, Pray, Love adventure. While I've yet to experience the bright Italian coastline firsthand, my love for Italian heritage brands with extensive fragrance lines has been more than enough to sustain me until I can travel there myself.
With that in mind, I've taken it upon myself to round up 15 of my favorite Italian perfume from these brands, ranging from Bulgari's powdery-fresh Eau Parfumée au Thé fragrances to Gucci's iconic florals (in equally aesthetic, vintage-inspired bottles) and Prada's modern amber and gourmand scents for the high-fashion minimalist in all of us. Each fragrance will make you feel rich in more ways than one, all falling under $200. Ready to embark on an olfactory journey through Italy's biggest fashion houses? Keep reading.
Key notes: Italian bergamot, citrus, green tea, beeswax, tonka bean
When it comes to Italian heritage brands, Bulgari immediately comes to mind as an established leader in the luxury-accessory arena. But have you experienced its equally opulent and unique fragrances? Out of its extensive line of fragrances, my personal favorite is this one: a powdery, fresh blend of earthy notes against a background of energizing green tea.
Key notes: Artemisia, white pepper, musk, amber, Himalayan tea
Bulgari's Eau Parfumée au Thé line is exactly what you'd imagine it to be—a collection of perfumes exploring lesser-known tea notes to create a luxurious olfactory experience. This one pairs soft Himalayan tea with warm musk and smooth amber, lending an inviting fragrance that's housed in the most delicate of bottles.
Key notes: Lily of the valley, grapefruit, rosebuds, peony, musk, sandalwood
Luckily, the luxury brand's fragrance identity doesn't stop at its au Thé line, as evidenced by the radiant Goldea collection. Made up of three floral fragrances (two eau de parfum and one eau de toilette), Goldea offers its wearer notes of sparkling rose paired with other lush notes. The eau de toilette pictured above celebrates the arrival of spring flowers by opening with lily of the valley and vibrant grapefruit before shifting into other sweet florals and smooth musks.
Key notes: Tuberose, jasmine bud, Rangoon creeper
Speaking of florals, it would be an absolute crime not to highlight the Italian brand with a line of perfumes dedicated to classically delicate floral fragrances: Gucci. Gucci Bloom was first launched in 2017 and blended by master perfumer Alberto Morillas. Its key notes of tuberose, jasmine bud, and Rangoon creeper transport the wearer to the garden of their dreams, imparting a legacy of femininity and grace.
Key notes: Mandarin essence, grandiflorum jasmine, magnolia accord, sandalwood, benzoin
Gucci Flora is perhaps one of the brand's most recognizable perfume collections, featuring Gorgeous Jasmine Eau de Parfum and Gorgeous Gardenia Eau de Parfum. The former, pictured here in a vintage-inspired teal bottle, blends radiant mandarin essence with grandiflorum jasmine and magnolia accord against a base of sandalwood and benzoin.
Key notes: Mandara, lilac, violet, bergamot, pink pepper, patchouli, amber
If this perfume's effortlessly cool golden bottle doesn't win you over, the fragrance inside certainly will. Gucci Guilty Pour Femme combines sophisticated florals with inspiring natural notes as a reflection of the original male fragrance (Gucci Guilty). Paired together, they're a pure expression of modern love. Gucci Guilty Pour Femme allows its wearer to embrace the romance with bright Mediterranean mandara balanced by powdery florals and deep amber.
Key notes: Papaya blossom, Indian sambac jasmine, amaryllis, Italian bergamot, Indian mimosa
Every now and then, allowing yourself to indulge in the finer things can be incredibly inspiring. A lengthy summer spent on the Amalfi Coast, for example, may be enough to throw all caution to the wind. If you're not quite ready to risk it all (or just prefer adding a little luxury to your everyday life), get your hands on Dolce&Gabanna's Dolce Eau de Parfum, a fragrance that perfectly balances timeless elegance with opulence with the help of fruity and floral notes.
Key notes: Peach, Calabrian bergamot, cedarwood
For this best-selling eau de toilette, it's all in the title. Light Blue Summer Vibes is a unisex fragrance dedicated to the unique energy one experiences when spending a summer on the Italian shoreline. Created by Alberto Morillas, this light and playful eau de toilette features fresh Calabrian bergamot with sticky, sweet peach and soothing cedarwood in a gorgeous, Mediterranean-inspired majolica-print bottle that absolutely deserves to be seen.
Key notes: Italian mandarin, frangipani flower, coconut essence, ylang-ylang
I like to think of this perfume as the perfect balance between fruity and floral notes, and it's a must-have for anyone longing to bring a blossoming garden to life through fragrance. This perfume opens with the unexpected note of bright, juicy Italian Mandarin before quickly softening to sweet ylang-ylang and the more tropical frangipani. Finally, wearers are met with cozy coconut, creating a wholly floral gourmand fragrance that will bring out your inner Italian heiress.
4. Armani Beauty
Key notes: Rose, black currant nectar, freesia, rose de mai, blond wood, vanilla
A common misconception of rose fragrances is that they're meant to be worn by individuals of a certain age, perhaps reminiscent of the perfumes that populate the vanities of our grandmothers. Armani Beauty's Sì poses a challenge, offering a modern and chic interpretation of a classic rose fragrance backed by notes of black currant nectar, rose de mai, cozy blond wood, and vanilla. If your end goal is to capture classic Italian elegance, Armani Beauty's Sì is a great place to start.
Key notes: Jasmine, lemon, gardenia, cedar, brown sugar, labdanum
Inspired by the beautiful Italian coast and the Mediterranean Sea, Armani Beauty's Acqua di Gioia is a must-have for lovers of zesty, fresh, and aquatic fragrances. It opens with a joyful blend of zesty lemon, powdery-fresh jasmine, and gardenia before being warmed with notes of cedarwood, brown sugar, and labdanum. Described by the brand as having been created for the free-spirited, Acqua di Gioia's organic bottle design is an ode to Giorgio Armani's aesthetic vision of "essential elegance."
Key notes: Green mandarin, lime essence, green tea extract, smoked black tea extract, ambrette absolute
Fresh, textured, and smoky are the three main words Armani Beauty uses to describe this green tea–based eau de toilette. The unique unisex fragrance takes its wearer on a sensory journey through China's Yunnan region (more specifically, the Yulong mountains) using a brilliant blend of energizing green tea and smoked black tea countered by bright citrus and soothing amber. This one may use Chinese fragrance notes, but the Italian line of perfumes by Armani Beauty is one to watch.
Key notes: Patchouli, benzoin, sandalwood, vanilla
Sensual and hypnotic, Prada's Amber Eau de Parfum is one of my favorite fragrances for days when I'm in the mood to lean into minimalist elegance. This perfume is the perfect expression of that, combining intoxicating patchouli with soothing sandalwood and contemporary benzoin for a wearable and versatile fragrance that can be worn day in and day out. While it was created as an ode to timeless femininity, there's definitely something undeniably modern about this one that's enticing.
Key notes: Caramel accord, benzoin resin, white musk
Calling all fans of sweet gourmand scents! Although Prada Candy has been around long enough for many beauty lovers to come across it in search of their signature fragrance, there's a chance Prada Candy has remained undiscovered for some. In that case, here's your introduction to one of Prada's best-selling perfumes. It's a warm and sweet blend of caramel, benzoin, and white musk that's beyond intoxicating. Created by master perfumer Daniela Andrier, Prada's Candy has rightfully won over the hearts of Who What Wear's beauty editors.
Key notes: Neroli bud, jasmine, white amber accord, white musks
Lastly, we have another one of my personal favorites: Prada's Paradoxe. Feminine and floral, this eau de parfum encapsulates the very essence of the brand, from its sensational blend of notes (neroli bud, white amber accord, and amber) to the perfume's bottle that re-creates Prada's iconic triangle logo, bold lettering, and coat of arms. If you, like me, can't get enough of this scent, rest in the knowledge that this perfume is refillable (as is the entire Prada Paradoxe line).