Every year, on Corpus Christi, Spello, the Umbrian town at the foot of mount Subasio, literally dresses up, offering tourists and residents a truly unique spectacle: the “Infiorate”. Let’s learn more about this event that attracts visitors from all over Italy and beyond…
Infiorate: an ancient, deeply felt tradition.
The custom of covering the city with flowers was born almost by chance in 1831, on the occasion of the visit of Bishop Cadolini, who should have taken possession of Spello. The Gonfaloniere at the time asked all residents to properly prepare the streets for the prelate’s procession, decorating them with fragrant flowers and herbs.
The first visual evidence linking this to the Corpus Domini procession would arrive in the early 20th century. The mayor at the time depicted the procession on a carpet of flowers which covered the main streets of the town.
Time has passed, but still, on the ninth Sunday after Easter, expert florists cover the streets of the old town centre of Spello with real works of art, forming a unique show with herbs and flower petals.
Exclusively using plant materials that are carefully collected and selected in the days preceding the celebration, the so-called flower arrangers work all night on Saturday to achieve magnificent floral carpets (about 60), which will cover about 2 km of the way that the Bishop will take, accompanying the body of Christ on Sunday.
There is a competition that started in the 60s that awards a prize to the most beautiful carpet in each edition. This stimulates the artist’s creativity, who spend months designing their decorations that will only last the wink of an eye, or the time the procession takes to trample the magnificent vegetable carpet.
This year, Spello’s Infiorate, an event which belongs to the European Year of Cultural Heritage, will take place on Saturday the 2nd and Sunday the 3rd of June.
This edition will especially be open to the young people and the social media, thanks to the contest #instainfiorate, which will last from the 21st of May to the 10th June and the first Instameet dedicated to the Infiorate, which will take place on the 3rd of June and will host various young influencers from several regions of Italy that will follow the Infiorate.
The event will begin on Saturday evening, with the so-called “Night of Flowers”, the night vigil that will involve the infioratori (intent on creating their masterpieces) and visitors (including children) who can take part in the so-called “infiorate of tourists”, during which they can actively participate in the creation of paintings on the pavement aided by expert decorators.
The highlight of the event will be Sunday, the day of the procession, but throughout the week the Umbrian town will be the scene of many initiatives, including painting and photography exhibitions, shows with sketches and floral embroidery and, above all, the initiative “windows, balconies and flowery alleys”, which is definitely worth a visit…