Let’s be honest. Most of us only ever walk down via della Pergola when we’re off to the eponymous theatre where the actress Eleonora Duse once performed. Now there’s another Eleonora who is drawing us to this historic street, but for the purposes of wellbeing. At Eleonora Gentile Luxury Hair Spa, you can see out but nobody can peep in as this hairdressing/wellness experience strives to transform your day. After years of experience working for the likes of Vidal Sassoon in London, New York and Milan, Eleonora and her partner Roberto Finaldi spent a long spell in Puglia before moving to Florence and setting up their refreshing upscale hair spa.
The experience begins as Eleonora gently applies neroli oil to your pulse and massages the essence into your hair, assessing stress levels (high!) and the condition of your locks. The shelves are lined with glamorous Philip Martin bottles, a top-tier beauty company which, despite the English name, is based in Vicenza; a section of the wall is planted with a species of moss that cleanses the salon’s oxygen levels; and only micronized purified alkaline water is used.
I’m guided into the Luxury Lounge, whose centerpiece is a unique treatment bed with a hair basin attached (“the only one in Florence”). It’s a hot day, so we choose not to activate the heating function, although the massage ripples beneath me as Eleonora rinses and soaps my hair before applying Scalp Benefit purifying mask. The menthol is a phenomenal blast of coolness, while the shea butter nourishes and the burdock cleanses a part of the body that is rarely taken into consideration.
Back out in the main salon, sitting in a custom-made soft Italian leather Pietranera hairdressing chair, Roberto brings over a cup of relaxing herbal tea and a couple of delicious Puglian taralli, while Eleonora blow-dries my curls. There’s even the option to order a signature dish from Harry’s Bar and book the entire salon for a special occasion, perhaps a bachelorette party or a special anniversary. This is affordable luxury as the prices aim to remain competitive on Florence’s busy beauty scene. Recommended.