One of my favorite festivals 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 nine 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. Year by year I have 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 surprising 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, Spello has become very famous for this festival, and the tiny town ends up with more visitors than it has space to put them. This festival has just outgrown Spello in my opinion, and it cannot accommodate the thousands of tourists that arrive by bus to experience the festival. We learned the first year we visited the flower festival that it was important to be in Spello before 8 am 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 9:30 am, however, the narrow streets of Spello are usually so congested that it becomes difficult to even walk down the narrow streets, so that is usually the time that we depart. I made the decision last year not to visit Spello for this festival again because I just do not enjoy crowds, and the L’Infiorita here has become too large. My daughter and her family have never had the opportunity to see this fantastic festival however, so despite my misgivings, I once again made the trek over to Spello this year so the family could experience the Le Infiorate. Unfortunately, it was a windy day, so many of the larger works of art remained covered throughout the morning so that they could be properly viewed by the judges. We had left before ten o’clock before the enclosures were removed for the procession takes place which destroys all the hard work.
Spello will always remain one of my favorite Umbrian hilltowns, but I will now visit it when it is not so crowded so I can enjoy strolling down the flower lined streets. The Infiorate is an amazing festival and I do recommend visiting Spello at least once during the flower festival to fully experience it, but to truly enjoy this magnificant small town, go when it isn’t so crowded as well!
The tiny hilltown of Spello.
Almost finished this amazing work of flower art!
One of the tiny, flower lined streets of Spello.
All finished, waiting for the wind to die down before removing the enclosure.
I loved the bright colors in this design.
Everywhere you walk in Spello you come across a breathtaking view!
One of the carpet designs winding down the narrow streets.
Another spectacular view.
Trying to walk down the streets beside the carpet art.
Getting more crowded.
By nine thirty in the morning this is what the streets look like. Too many people for me!
A flower lined street away from the crowds in Spello.