One of my favorite experiences each year takes place in Spello on Corpus Domini (Corpus Christi) when the entire small town is carpeted in flowers in a celebration called Le Infiorate. From one end of the town to the other, groups have assembled to “paint” elaborate designs on the streets and sidewalks working tirelessly all night long. My first visit to Spello’s flower festival took place five years ago and we have attended this event every year since. The works of art displayed in flowers are truly breathtaking and every year they seem to be more colorful and more intricate. This year I noticed much more texture being used in many of the designs, although they all remain faithful to the religious origin of this festival. I love watching the artists carefully laying down the petals onto the canvas painting their designs and find it amazing that by using carefully chosen shades of one type of flower they can create works of art that almost come to life before your eyes.
Unfortunately (for me at least), Spello has become very famous for this festival, and the tiny town ends up with more visitors than it has space to put them. Basically, this festival has simply outgrown the town in my opinion. We learned the first year we visited the flower festival that it was important to be in Spello before 8am on Sunday which is the time when many of the groups begin to dismantle the huge tents used to protect the works of art from the elements as they work on them through the night. By 9:30am however, the narrow streets of Spello are usually so congested that it becomes difficult to even walk so that is usually the time that we depart. The infiorate di Spello has become simply too popular, and I think next year we will visit one of the less famous flower festivals in other small towns that have remained local, are less well known, and have retained their simple country charm.
Arriving at 7:30am on Sunday, all the larger designs are protected by large tents.
Another group busily finishing their design before they begin to dismantle the tent.
Lots of color and texture in this design.
Love how they can create facial features with different shades of petals.
One of the many carpet designs that run through the narrow streets of Spello.
View from the top of Spello overlooking the Umbrian countryside.
This is one of this year’s favorites. This view shows just how large some of the designs can be. Ladders are set up for the larger designs so folks can climb up and get better photographs.
Another view from the top of Spello looking across Umbria.
Gorgeous use of colors!
Carpet of flowers through the arch.
Leftover flower petals are often used by the children to create their own designs.
Trying to walk through the narrow streets without stepping on all the carpets of flowers!
Many folks are assigned the job of keeping the petals damp so they retain their color before they are judged.
Busy, busy scrambling to get their design completed.
Always lots of color used no matter how simple or how intricate the design.
This design was set within a carpet of flowers. The shading was so amazing that if you step back, it almost looks like an oil painting.
This shows the original drawing used to create the design shown behind it.
One of my favorite designs. I love the use of colors in this design!
Close up of the faces in the previous design.
Close up of the colors in the larger design above. Makes me want to get out my knitting needles and create something colorful!
Another very intricate design with glorious colors!
The crowds at 9:30am in Spello! Time for me to go!!!