Infiorata – Flower Festival in Noto

Infiorata – Flower Festival in Noto

Infiorata festivals are usually celebrated during late May or early June around the Corpus Domini feast. The best ceremonies can be observed in Noto (Sicily), Genzano (Lazio) and Spello (Umbria), the dates differ not only between the years but also across locations.

The tradition of making flower carpets dates back in Italy to June of 1625 when Benedetto Drei, head-florist at the Vatican, used flowers to decorate a basilica with the mosaic on the day of Saints Peter and Paul.

Today it can be said with complete tranquillity that the passionate Spellani Infioratori work all year round in order to prepare the event in the best possible way. The marvellous Infiorate (carpets and paintings) that are offered to the admiring glances of the numerous Italian and foreign visitors are the result of a complex and difficult job that requires days, weeks and even months of patient and skilful work of many they distribute the tasks and take action with indispensable harmony of purpose.

The works last all night and only at 9.00 am the streets are covered with a single polychrome and perfumed carpet: a unique spectacle to behold. Suffice it to say that in a single floral path, about 70 Infiorate are created on average, including carpets - each from 12 to 15 meters in length, with a minimum surface area of ​​15 square meters - and large paintings - from 25 to 90 square meters. The uniqueness of the character of the event is certainly given by the technique of execution which consists of the exclusive use of plant elements not treated with chemical or preservative agents or with artificial or pulverized dyes.

The protective structure is finally finished, everything is ready for the most awaited moment: the composition of the petals to create the chosen design. At this point, there is a real division of tasks: the "artist" of the group performs the most complex part of the carpet, namely the religious subjects, the others who are usually the youngest, take care of the decorative parts that frame the “paintings”, others are intent on carrying the boxes full of petals according to everyone's requests. Now the whole country is at work. The night is long, it is painful, but between a coffee and another that can help them stay awake, the first light of dawn rises.

With the Sunday procession, the splendid compositions dissolve in the air. Nothing remains of these artistic works, except in the memory of those who have admired them briefly and in the photos and colour films that have immortalized them. Thanks to all this, Spello can fully affirm its vocation as a city of art, traditions and culture everywhere.

Noto, Sicily

Noto, Sicily

Noto is a city and comune in the Province of Syracuse, Sicily, Italy. It is 32 km southwest of the city of Syracuse at the foot of the Iblean Mountains. It lends its name to the surrounding area Val di Noto. In 2002 Noto and its church were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The old town, Noto Antica, lies 8 km directly north on Mount Alveria. A city of Sicel origin, it was known as Netum in ancient times. In 263 BCE the city was granted to Hiero II by the Romans. According to legend, Daedalus stayed in the city after his flight over the Ionian Sea, as did Hercules after his seventh task. During the Roman era, it opposed the magistrate Verres.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city was home to several notable intellectual figures, including Giovanni Aurispa, jurists Andrea Barbazio and Antonio Corsetto, as well as architect Matteo Carnelivari and composer Mario Capuana. In 1503 king Ferdinand III granted it the title of civitas ingeniosa ("Ingenious City"). In the following centuries, the city expanded, growing beyond its medieval limits, and new buildings, churches and convents were built.

The medieval town of Noto was virtually razed by the 1693 Sicilian earthquake. It was decided to rebuild the town at the present site, on the left bank of the River Asinaro, closer to the Ionian shore. These circumstances have led this town to have a unique architectural homogeneity since the core of the town was all built over the next decades after the calamity in what is a typical and highly preserved example of Sicilian baroque. The layout followed a grid system by Giovanni Battista Landolina and utilized the sloping hillside for scenographic effects. The architects Rosario Gagliardi, Francesco Sortino and others each participated in designing multiple structures. The town was dubbed the "Stone Garden" by Cesare Brandi and is currently listed among UNESCO's World Heritage Sites. Many of the newer structures are built of a soft tufa stone, which assume a honey tonality under sunlight.

Noto is famous for its buildings from the early 18th century, many of which are considered to be among the finest examples of Sicilian baroque style. It is a place of many religious buildings and several palaces.

Also, check our list of the best hotels in Noto and book your stay during the event.

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