The ‘Infiorata Festival’
‘Infiorata’ literally means ‘decorated with flowers’ and throughout Italy, many towns hold Infiorata festivals in May and June, where local people decorate their streets with carpets of colour and flowers. One of the most famous ones is in Noto, Sicily, but we have a superb one in Acuto.
This year’s ‘Infiorata’ festival in Acuto was an unmissable, although brief, event! In Acuto it happens each year the week after the Pilgrimage to the Santuario di Santissima Trinita. This year the Infiorata festival was held on Sunday the 29th May.
Flowers, leaves, coloured wood shavings and flower petals are used to create patterns like carpets and tapestries up the middle of the streets and alleys.
The carpet of colour started at the bottom of the main street leading into Acuto and led all the way up into the oldest part of the village and around the alleyways and back around again. It was such a colourful, beautiful sight and each section was different, some being geometric patterns, some intricate designs, some fun, like faces and some like birds or flowers. It was magical! Around each corner there was a new design and something to delight the eye.
The designs are sketched in first with chalk or soil, to mark the outlines, and then the patterns and colours fill the lines. We saw children and people of all ages joining in the fun of the decorating. Some designs were very intricate and beautiful.
They start decorating the streets at around 5 am and by mid-morning the village is ready for the Procession, when the priests, nuns and local dignitaries pass solemnly down the main street, carrying the cross with Jesus Christ and village banners. There is also a brass band, playing cheerful music. The whole village turns out to watch the procession.
Surprisingly, after all that effort, at midday the whole lot is swept up, and by mid-afternoon it is as if it had never happened and the streets are completely back to normal.
It is quite a sight and well worth going to see if you happen to be here at this wonderful time of year.
Alana and Joe