Across Italy as Spring draws to a close and Summer starts flexing its muscles attracting people to the beaches and scorching bodies and plants alike, there is one more chance for Italy’s flora to be admired in the many infiorata festivals that take place up and down the country.
Infiorata, meaning ‘decorated with flowers‘, is a tradition that dates back to the 1600s. Originially these beautifully intricate carpets of flowers were designed and made to decorate the Vatican Basilicata to celebrate the patron saints of Rome. The tradition then grew and spread through various rich Roman families until it became linked to the feast of Corpus Christi in Genzano where these flower murals have lined the street since 1778. One of the most famous in all of Italy is just across the water in Noto, Sicily and for the last few years Taurianova in Calabria has one of its own.
The murals themselves are a painstaking process of precise design; murals normally have some religious significance but can also reflect local culture or history as well as beautiful images. Flower petals from a variety of flowers are selected and layered on a base of sand, soil, coffee grounds or wood chippings, delicately to create these vivid designs.
In the second biggest infiorata in Southern Italy, after that of Noto, some 100,000 flowers were used this year in Taurianova. With the title “Around the world in 80 metres” many murals were proudly displayed representing different countries and towns. I paid a visit and was blown away by the pretty designs and attention to detail that the makers had clearly sweated over, and not just because of the soaring temperatures. Here are a few photographs from this lovely event. If you are in Southern Italy in June you must check out one of these festivals, you won’t be disappointed.