No one masters the art of living better than the Italians. There is something especially pleasing in their view of the world and in the way they spend their daily lives. They master the love of life to perfection and enjoy it to the fullest.
When we think of Italy, we immediately think of calmness, weightlessness, and, of course, art. You can’t enjoy life without thinking about it, because life without art is nothing. And the Italians master the art to perfection. They accept their role as artists with open arms and find all sorts of ways to show it to the world. And one of them is through flowers.
The Infiorata Festival is a flower festival celebrated every year in Italy. It is a collection of celebrations in various Italian cities, which take place in the spring months of May and June when the flowers are still in bloom.
The word infiorata means decorated with flowers. The streets of Italian cities are transformed into beautiful colorful carpets, created entirely from living plants, shades of petals, soil, and sometimes even beans and stems.
While this unique custom dates back to the 13th century, the tradition behind the Infiorata color festival as we know it today dates back to the feast of St. Peter and Paul, the patron saint of Rome, on June 29, 1625. It was then that Benedetto Dray, the Vatican’s chief florist, and his son Peter decided to create the famous mosaics of flower petals to decorate the basilica. Later, the idea spread throughout Rome by the architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who organized baroque festivals. While the event in Rome disappeared in the late 17th century, the locals of Castelli Romani adored it so much that they continue to celebrate it every year to this day.
For modern representations, artists use colorful petals of different colors
to create various street designs that lead to churches and abbeys. Preparations for the big celebrations of the Infiorata take up to a year. Artists choose flowers for their works. Then they draw their sketches with chalk on the streets. Mark each line with soil or coffee grounds, then fill them with flower petals.
And just as artists use paints for their paintings, the creators of colorful works use a palette of nature that embodies each color. This allows artists who use only what Mother Nature provides to create these magnificent works of art. Artists create both simple and more complex designs, and colorful carpets lead visitors along the main streets all the way to the city’s churches and abbeys.
Three major Infiorata festivals are held in Italy – in Genzano, Lazio, Spelo, Umbria and Noto, Sicily.
The tradition in Genzano, Lazio, has been associated with the celebration of the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ since 1778 when a carpet of bright flowers was laid in the city center. The festivities there continue
from then until today and include approximately 500,000 flowers each year, turned into floral rugs covering the city.
The Infiorata in the town of Spello, Umbria, has been celebrated since the 1930s and is held on the day of the same holiday, the Body and Blood of Christ – the ninth Sunday after Easter. The night before, more than 1,000 artists were working on the colorful carpets, which will delight residents and tourists the next day. The festival in Noto, Sicily has been held in May since 1980, and the main location of the flowers is on Nicolaci Street, where artists combine colorful carpets on the ground with the incredible baroque balconies of the buildings.
This festival emphasizes not only the great talent and efforts of the artists but also the beauty of the local landscapes. Each place where the Infiorata takes place is proud of its unique architecture and accepts this event as a way to make it stand out even more. This is just one of the ways Italians enjoy their lives and turn their daily lives into a holiday, but we admit, they definitely do it with style.