Many Italian towns hold an infiorata, or flower art festival, during May and June (look for posters announcing an infiorata). Mutli-colored flower petals are used to create amazing works of art on the streets or in abbeys, a really beautiful sight. In some places, the infiorata is a simple flower-petal design in front of the church. At a more elaborate infiorata several different tapestries are created, each with a different picture, but often centered around a theme.
To create the picture, the design is first sketched in chalk on the pavement. Soil is usually used to outline the design and then it's filled in with thousands of petals and seeds, much like the making of mosaics or tapestries (but with different materials). Coffee grounds, beans, wood chips, and grass are often used as well, and the compositions often feature incredible amounts of detail. The entire process takes two or three days to complete. Often a religious procession takes place on the flower carpets after there are completed. The ephemeral nature of the infiorata – the finished works of art usually last only a few hours – is part of what makes them so rare and special.
Where to See an Infiorata
One of the most famous infiorata festivals is in Noto, Sicily, usually held the weekend of the third Sunday in May. Noto is a beautiful Baroque town and UNESCO World Heritage site in southeast Sicily (see Sicily map).
On mainland Italy, the date for the infiorata is usually the Sunday of Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi), celebrated nine weeks after Easter. But the real date of Corpus Domini is the Thursday falling 60 days after Easter, so you may see small flower petal carpets in front of churches then too. Top infiorate displays in Italy include:
- Bolsena, north of Rome (northern Lazio map), carpets about 3km of pavement with flower tapestries along the route for the Corpus Domini Sunday procession.
- Brugnato, a small town in the La Spezia province of Liguria inland from the Cinque Terre (see Liguria map) holds an infiorata the Sunday of Corpus Domini. Work starts in the early morning to create flower tapestries along the streets of the town center. Visitors can view the flower art in the afternoon and there's a procession from the cathedral over the tapestries at 6 PM.
- Genzano di Roma, south of Rome, has been holding an infiorata since 1778.
- Orvieto, in the central Italy region of Umbria, has a costumed Corpus Domini procession with more than 400 people, and the streets are decorated with flower art.
- Spello, also in Umbria, is another very popular place for infiorata.
- The Abbey of Chiaravalle della Colomba, near Fidenza in northern Italy's Emilia-Romagna region (see Emilia-Romagna map), is one of the several abbeys that create flower tapestries inside for Corpus Domini.
Corpus Domini and Infiorata dates: The Sunday of Corpus Domini in 2019 is June 20 while in 2020 it will fall on June 21. Look for infiorata or flower petal displays in front of many Italian churches both on the Sunday of Corpus Domini and the Thursday before.
See more June Festivals and Events in Italy.