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The best italian Infiorate

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During May and June, the infiorata festivals are held in various Italian towns and are definitely a must see if you are planning to visit one of the many regions where these festivals take place. From Sicily to Lazio and Umbria, up to Emilia-Romagna and Liguria, skilled and creative artists use flowers with various nuances of colour and their petals to create both simple and elaborate designs on the streets leading up to their churches and abbeys. After months of work on the design of the painting, they first sketch them on the floor using chalk or on paper the night before the feast, then outlined with soil and filled in with fresh or sun-dried petals, seeds, and leaves. The use of glue is not permitted, and even 3-D, perspective, and shadow effects must be reproduced exclusively using entire flowers and other greenery. The entire process takes two or three days to complete. Often a religious procession takes place on the flower carpets after there are completed. Indeed the "Infiorata" is an event linked to the Christian celebration of Corpus Domini; dated back to the 13th century, it usually take place on the Sunday of Corpus Domini, the ninth after Easter.

The word "infiorata" literally means "decorated with flowers" and this is exactly how the paintings created for the occasion are made, using flower petals, earth, and sometimes even beans or wood cuttings. Tracing its origins to the 13th century, the Infiorata flower tradition as we know it today, dates back to the seventeenth century. It seems that the first flower carpets were made on the 29th of June 1625 in the Vatican Basilica by Benedetto Drei, head-florist at the Vatican, and his son Peter, who used flower petals like mosaic's tesserae to decorate the basilica on the day of Saints Peter and Paul's feast, the patron saints of Rome

The Infiorate-decorated streets are generally selected months before the event, and they are matched with the Corpus Domini Procession. The town people play vital roles in carrying out the celebration, from hosting culinary options to organizing the flower arrangements. Throughout time, flowers have been sources of peace, joy, and beauty, and the infiorate festivals are no exception. These incredible, vibrant flower creations are the perfect way for Italians to celebrate the spring season. The intense work that the artists put into the festival is certainly admired and enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

Genzano:

The Infioriata di Genzano is an annual flower festival that takes place in Rome, Italy. Held in June for more than two hundred years, the festival showcases giant artistic carpets made entirely of floral arrangements. The Infiorata of Genzano begins with the harvesting of millions of flowers, 2-3 days before the event. They are stored fresh, in caves around Genzano, while the artists draw their masterpieces on the pavement of Via Belardi, for the Saturday parade. The Infiorata ends on the next Monday, when children are allowed to destroy the colorful artworks by playing on them. This event has been celebrated yearly, in June, the day of the Corpus Domini, since June 1778, when the brothers Arcangelo and Nicola Leofreddi wished to celebrate the sacred day with flowers.

Noto:

The Infiorata of Noto takes place during the third week-end of May. Every third Sunday of May Noto, a baroque city in South-East Sicily, The little town of Noto, located southerly from Syracuse and in the Unesco world heritage list for its elegant baroque buildings, is quite literally covered in flower petals for the Infiorata. The event, which was born 37 years ago, made the city known all over the world. Among the golden villas and beautiful balconies of via Nicolaci, the flower-masters gives life to colorful and suggestive pictures realized only using Mediterranean flowers. The central point of the Infiorata festival is via Nicolaci in the town centre of Noto. The artists start their working on Friday evening. Via Nicolaci is divided in parts and the flower-masters draw the draft of their works on the road. The works are completed with thousand of flower petals. On Saturday morning the Infiorata is finished and via Nicolaci appears as a long and colorful flower carpet. There are also a lot of other events organized in Noto during these days like a baroque historical parade, exhibitions, food and wine tastings, guided tours, music concerts and much more. Every year, during the Infiorata, Noto is crowded with visitors from all over the world.

Spello:

Spello’s Infiorata began in the 1930's and takes place every year in the small Umbrian town on the day of the Corpus Domini feast, on the ninth Sunday after Easter. On that night, almost a thousand people work strenuously to create carpets and pictures made of flowers along the narrow town’s streets. The floral creations cover streets throughout the historical centre in preparation to the passage of the Blessed Sacrament carried in procession by the bishop on Sunday morning.

In Spello, techniques and designs evolved throughout the years, until the first official contest was established in 1962. Today, the association “Le Infiorate di Spello” brings together about 1000 members committed to preserving and promoting the traditional feast beyond regional and national borders. What is so special about Spello’s Infiorata, it that the artists compose their splendid carpets using flowers collected in the wild. The use of wood and any kind of synthetic material is severely prohibited and the use of leaves and berries not loved, the preference is given to the use of petals only, either fresh or dried. which means that the festival requires a year long effort in order to take full advantage of the variety of seasonal floral species the Umbria's countryside offers.


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The author

Eleonora Ruzzenenti

Eleonora Ruzzenenti

I am Eleonora, from Italy. I share with you a frenetic passion for travelling and an insatiable curiosity for different cultures. On itinari, you will find my stories about Italy.

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