is an Italian tradition that sees the streets paved with flowers, during the month of May and June, from North to South they are held in various Italian towns and are a must see if you are planning to visit one of the many regions where these festivals take place. Individual artists display their talents on side streets and the public is invited to browse the “street gallery”. Three festivals in particular are worth a visit: Noto- Sicily, Genzano- Lazio and Spello- Umbria.
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.
The infiorata 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 actual design of the painting, they first sketch them on the floor in chalk and mark each line with soil or coffee grounds. Then comes the job of filling in the marvellous creations with flower petals, using individual petals the way painters use the colours on their palette: broom for yellow, goat’s rue for blue, carnation for red, and wild fennel for green, etc. Some tapestries also use entire flowers and other greenery, making for more three-dimensional scenes.
One of the most famous infiorata festivals is in Noto and will take place between 16th and 18th May. Noto is a beautiful Baroque town and UNESCO World Heritage site in southeast Sicily, over the three days the city is quite literally covered in flower petals for the “Infiorata di Noto”. This year the theme choosen for the flower decoration is “Tribute to Russia”.
This event has taken place since 1980 and it’s a celebration of Spring and a chance for local artists to display their fantastic skills while using the most natural material possible. Flower petals, earth and, sometimes, even beans or wood cuttings. The entire town of Noto takes part in the design of these wonderful creations that have a maximum life span of 48 hours – since they are prepared between Friday and Saturday and showcased on Sunday. The main showcase takes places in Via Nicolaci where people can look down to enjoy the flower images and then up to admire the wonderful baroque balconies.
Click here to view the main events of the 35th Infiorata flower festival in Noto
Two hundred and twenty people, in period costume, dressed as ladies, gentlemen, squires, monsignors, pages and peasants, march between wings of people holding the coat of arms of the most important aristocratic families and the heraldic colourful coat of arms of Noto City. The evocative atmosphere is emphasized by the rolling of drums, by the flags wavers at the presence of the Grand Master of Ceremonies and the Court of Officials.
Enjoy this colourful video