Sunday we finally managed to go to the Infiorata in Spello, a small hill town not far from Assisi. A religious ceremony – Corpus Domini – which is celebrated the ninth Sunday after Easter each year by many towns with flower carpets on the streets. But Spello goes all out for this religious holiday. It draws thousands of visitors each year, to see the flower carpets. All up and down the streets are amazing, religious themed, creations made out of mostly flower petals, but also other organic and plant material.
About one quarter of the population of 8,000 volunteers in some way to help make this event happen. It is a huge undertaking because there are busload after busload of people coming. And parking lots in fields for the thousands of cars. All of this must be managed and coordinated. Then there is the art itself. The people in the town spend weeks plucking petals from flowers and gathering wild flowers for the creations. It works essentially like the old paint by number paintings. The designers create the designs. I am sure this is another whole layer of work unseen by most which must take months to finalize for each creation. They use chalk to draw the designs on the pavement under tents erected to protect the workers and the flower petals from the elements. The workers work all night making the creations. All the bars and restaurants stay open all night. They are supposed to be finished by 8am but some were still working when we got there at 8:30.
This is an example of the tents that cover these while they are created. As you can see the framework is just being dismantled and the workers are still hard at it after an all-nighter.
I tried to get a picture of the design which was posted next to each creation so you can see what it would look like had I gotten overhead. Luther says next year we should have a drone! This is the design of the one above.
Some of the raw materials used in the creations. I wonder how many flowers they go through!
This board had the petals and the corresponding numbers. And they even included the name of the flower they came from. As I said, paint by the numbers!
I think there are 60-70 of these carpets and I did take a lot of pictures. I hope you enjoy them. There will be less to read…but more to see! I will caption them where needed.
The under 14 year olds had a few entries. I should mention that these are all judged and prizes (plaques) are awarded in different categories.
This next design, followed by the creation was my favorite. Entitled The Choice. I liked it for the design and especially the creative use of artichokes in the dragon detail.
The next four are another example of the use of different plant materials in the designs.
We finally made it to the top!
And now for a few pictures from around town. They not only do awards for the carpets they also judge the flowers that residents grow and decorate their windows, doors, balconies.
The crowd. The streets of Spello are narrow. Add the carpets that you can’t walk on, and the 100,000 or so visitors and you’ve got…well…a mob scene. 😳 And it was very warm, nearly hot.
There was a holy Mass at 10am and then the procession began. This is where I wanted to cry. They walk right on and over the creations. Then the faithful who are following the holy procession do too. The beautiful carpets of flowers that took thousands and thousands of hours of work only live for a few hours. Then they are gone. But I remembered, it is not about the flowers or the art. It is about Corpus Domeni.
As you can see we had a birds eye view of the procession. Thanks to our friends Steve and Roselyne who invited us to their apartment to recover. They own this apartment right on the Main Street with a nice balcony so we got a good view.
I hope you enjoyed this photo essay of one of the iconic fests in Umbria.