| My little shops | The Drogheria Torielli spice shop

What makes a shop special?

You know the supermarkets where we enter every day? Ok, they are not.

In those places time runs as fast as the wheels of the shopping carts. Our hands grab the goods on the shelves in the exact place where they found them the day before. Not a word, jus a mix of traffic noise, music and the beep  of the bar code reader. The only flavor you smell is the that sweetish odor of the pre-cooked bread warmed in the oven of the “fresh” stands.

There are stores, instead, that are unique places. Cozy shops where to buy has a different meaning. Because is an experience.

One of these is the historical spice shop Drogheria Torielli, in Via San Bernardo 32 R, deep Genoa down town.

drogheria Torielli insegna


You can see its small windows form a distance as they proudly light up the dark alleys where they face on.

Even before being able to give a look inside,  the smell of the spices that gets away from the store pierce your nostrils: curry, cardamom, black pepper, coffee, vanilla, cumin, oregano, Marseille soap.

Here, after having get through the font door, with your feet on a floor made of ancient shabby tile, you queue up and wait your turn. You stand still – its too small –  and patiently wait looking around.

Time is suspended.

drogheria Torielli


With the smell still stunned, the eyes scroll the many goods exposed: vases with elegant  hand written labels keeping colourful spices tidily aligned on the shelves; jars of amber honey and shining jams jealously safeguarded in glass showcases – with thin pristine windows; jute bags full of different kind of nuts at the feet of the liberty counter; boxes with ancient infusions and mix of aromatic herbs; an old scale and an old coffee grinder – both still in use, of course – standing between cookies and charms on the polished marble work bench; sacks of natural sponges hanging from the ceiling; soaps and bath salts neatly arranged close to the window on linen doily; golden and red tin can treasuring the finest oriental teas.

bottega torielli



Drogheria Torielli Genova


People chat waiting for their turn at drogheria Torielli’s. Some folks ask for advises to the owner helping them, some other tell to their unknown neighbor about the last spice discovered, some people give their recipes for said amazing dishes. And there are some folks, like me, that just listen and often learn. Like that time when three ladies were tweeting  when I entered the shop. After a while I discovered the existence of the tonka bean and of it’s use not only in desserts but also in roasted carrots.

If you get inside and nobody is queueing up– which is quite rare, though – you are even a bit disappointed.


Tortelli botteghe storiche genova


The owners are two sisters. Two elegant, shy and kind lady who carry on with passion the business inherited by their father and uncle.  I still remember them: two dynamic little old men who until few years ago controlled the counter waring their usual bottle green grocer coat.

Love, efforts, dedication. Also all of these, jointly with the pungent odor of the spices, you can smell queueing up at Drogheria Torielli’s.

And that’s ok.




Link Love for drogheria Torielli

If you want to make a virtual tour of the  Drogheria Torelli take a look at this  video, although fragrances aromas and the the atmosphere can be smell only going there physically.

For more informations (such as telephone numbers and opening time) you can give a look at their Facebook page.



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Ciao! I’m Enrica

a home cook, food researcher and experience curator born and bred in Liguria.
I study, tell, cook, share and teach Ligurian cuisine and the culture surrounding it.
Here we celebrate Liguria’s gastronomic diversity and richness through its recipes, producers, traditions and shops.

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