Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Spello Infiorata 2014 Part I

On Sunday the Stoic One, Joseph, Paul and I went off to Spello for a festa called the Infiorata. We left Umbertide at 5:45AM and arrived in Spello at 6:30AM.  I had read that it was very important to ge there early because of parking. When we arrived, we easily found a place to park, and in the cool morning mist, we strolled up the hill to the centro storico of Spello.

First a few words about an Infiorata.  The history of the Infiorata is tied to religious symbolism.  First it always occurs on Corpus Domini which is 9 Sundays after Easter. It is a celebration of the Latin rite of the eucharist, which celebrates the belief that the body and blood of Christ is transformed at the Eurcharist. For those intersted in knowing more about the history of this "feast of devotion" read here.     History of Corpus Domini

In times past, people would throw flower petals on the ground before the religious leaders processed through the town. As time passed, this custom evolved into people creating flower carpets laid in front of houses along the streets of the procession.

In Spello there are very strict rules to be followed in creating an infiorata. First, only flowers found in the wild can be used.  No glue can be used in the placement of the flower petals. Each infiorata must be at least 40 feet long! The gathering of the flowers that are used starts early in the year to ensure that all the needed colors will be available. About 1,000 people work at the Infiorata in Spello.  The work starts on Saturday afternoon and continues through the night.  If you visit during the middle of the night, something that our Italian friends recommend, you will find the city is brightly lit as if it were the middle of the day.  On Sunday morning the procession starts at 11:00 am.  After the flowers have been walked on, a machine cleans them up and they are all gone by Sunday afternoon.

The picture above shows how the people know what flowers to put where.  For example, "Sanguinelle,"  the word at the top, is  the word for Dogwood. Buckets of flowers are spread everywhere as people work to complete the infiorata.

The colors of the flowers are fantastic.

When we arrived people were still working. It was really intersting to watch the work in progress.

The box that is in the foreground of the picture is a sample box of all the colors that were used in this infiorata.

 All of the work is done under these large plastic tents. Can  you imagine the chaos if it rained or there was a large wind? Luckily they do most of the work at night so it is not too hot inside.

Some people use the old fashioned chalk method to know where to put the flowers.

Although it seems very organized by Italian standards, there is still a bit of that Italian chaos that I love.

There are two categories, one for carpet "runners" and the other are pictures.  Here is an example of a runner.

Below is a runner they are still working on filling in.

This one above is clearly not a contestant.  There is no number attached to it and the flower placement is not as precise as the others.

One of my favourites.

Another favourite

Now for the Paintings.

Each Infiorata, that is a contestant has a photo of the design they are working toward.

Another example

You can tell by the light and the few people that it is still early!

In Umbria, St. Francis is always a popular choice.

Another favorite of mine.

(To be Continued)


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  2. Susan,
    thanks so much for the wonderful photos and detailed explanations of the process involved in creating these masterpieces! I'm usually in Italy in the fall, so have missed out on the chance to see the infiorata festivals of Corpus Christi, but hope to one day see one.

  3. Hi Marybeth, glad you enjoyed the show. If ever you are here this time of year, it is definitely worth a stop. We were mesmerized.