Night Of Flowers
A cute little hamlet called Spello, which is located 10 minutes’ drive from St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, has the Catholic tradition of covering the streets with petals of flowers on the day of Corpus Domini feast (on the ninth Sunday after Easter). This event is called Infiorata di Spello. It happens annually during the month of June and it is a tradition that has been taking place for decades. Originality and high artistic level goes on making the Infiorate of Spello a unique and internationally known function. The “Infioratori” of Spello (people involved in the Infiorate) work for months and months for the realization of these creations that will last just a few hours.
Beautiful and ephemeral, the Infiorata, starts on Saturday morning and it must be completed by early morning Sunday, to be crushed themselves around 11 am after the passage of the religious procession guided by the bishop.
Having experienced this beautiful tradition first hand, let me give you some important details to best handle your visit to the Infiorata di Spello.
First of all keep in mind that only the preparations start on Saturday morning; this means that if you schedule your visit to Spello on Saturday morning you will see nothing but the installations of the tents where they will be working. Meanwhile, on Saturday evening, you will probably see the entire team at work: men and women (no age limit) are grouped along the streets or in the garage pulling the petals off one by one (No other parts are thrown, because it is useful to give shade of colours) and others laying out their designs on the pavement under the tents. But the real work starts on Saturday night. This is why the event is referred to as “Night of Flowers”. On Saturday night, people get together to create beautiful and original mosaics out of flower petals. Thousands of people work throughout the night and not until Sunday morning are these flower mosaics completed; they are laid out like carpets down the narrow main streets and throughout the principal squares of the town.
The religious procession led by the bishop takes place around 11 am along these beautiful floral carpets. Moreover, it will start to be crowded around 8 am. So, the best time to see the flower carpets is from 5 am to 8 am on Sunday. Schedule your visit accordingly to avoid disappointments. Plenty of tourists we have seen left out this pretty important detail so, they couldn’t see the flower carpets once done. Before the procession there is also a competition where the jury elects the best work of the year. As for me, I drove to Spello with my colleague on Friday and we slept in Spello both Friday and Saturday. This allowed us to experience the Infiorata totally: from the preparations to the completing of the event. This was the best thing that we could ever do!
The second point that you have to keep in mind is certainly the parking. You will not be able to find parking within the walls where the event takes place since fortunately, traffic will be closed off for the Infiorata. Park as close as you can and walk up. Consider it part of those 10,000 steps.
Of course, the Umbrian gastronomic part is not cut off during the event. It is a great occasion to try delicious local food. But keep in mind that Spello is used to slowing down the pace. We waited for about two hours to eat some ham and cheese.
Visitors and tourists can be flower carpet makers for a day; they can, in fact, participate in the Infiorata actively collaborating in the most characteristic phases of the event, from the preparation of the petals to the composition of the flower mosaics on the pavement. Let me say that since the workforce is getting more and more weaker, the helping hands are more than welcome. Children also have their designs that need to be filled with flowers.
The Infiorate di Spello year after year has become an extremely popular event. This local Italian hill town festival should be on the bucket list of everyone that loves tradition and beauty. Don’t hesitate to visit Spello. Take your day trip from wherever you are in Italy. Spello is not that far From Florence, San Marino or Rome. A day trip from Rome, for example, is easier than you can imagine.