An Explosion of Flowers

June 21, 2012 / Events
Piegaro. Umbria
One of the most beautiful and passionate days for you to be in the medieval town of Piegaro, nestled among the lush hills of Umbria, is Corpus Domini.

Early in the morning, after climbing hillsides in search of the yellow ginestra (scotch broom) and green ivy, gathering the delicate red poppies that bloom in profusion in every field, cutting red, pink and yellow roses in gardens and pink and red geraniums in window boxes, you can help turn the cobblestone streets into a maze of floral tapestries.

Each piazza has a homemade altar topped with antique linen cloths and vases of flowers. Take your overflowing bucket or basket and join in filling streets with an eclectic collection of religious and peace symbols, smiling suns and giant hearts; each is a traditional offering.

Since the 13th Century, Corpus Domini is a festival held sixty days after Easter celebrating the Eucharist. Tapestries called “infiorate” are created in Spello and Orvieto. But for sheer intimacy and passionate small town fun, the village of Piegaro is the place! Visitors are warmly welcomed to join in.

Precisely at 11:00 the campanile starts a cacophony of tolling bells summoning everyone to the Church. The service is long, solemn and yet joyful. It is the time for the ecstatic welcome of children, who are celebrating their first communion.

As the church empties, people cluster in the piazza in anticipation of the emerging children dressed in communion white with pink ribbons followed by the village priest, Don Augusto, walking under a gold canopy, held high by four men.

Everyone follows along, chanting a song that has remained unchanged through the centuries, into every flower-strewn street of Piegaro, stopping at each altar to bless the people, the lands and the heavens. This is the rhythm of a life lived together through the ages preserving cherished traditions that resonate powerfully within all hearts.

This year Corpus Domini was on June 10th. Next year, come and receive a warm welcome on June 2nd, 2013 to bedeck the streets together!

Colleen Simpson

by Colleen Simpson

Colleen followed a long-held dream and made a home in Piegaro, which is a pristine medieval glass-making village south of Lago Trasimeno in Umbria. She is the innkeeper at

13 Responses to “An Explosion of Flowers”

  1. Evanne

    Yes, memories of Corpus Domini all around Italy are on every Italian’s mind at this time of year. We’ve recalled similar processions in our medieval village in Alto Lazio for the fifteen years we’ve owned property here. Your villagers are particularly artistic. Complimenti!

  2. Ann Dinkins

    What a lovely way to openly live their faith in creating these beautiful creations. Thank you for sharing a small, but obviously very important part of their lives.

  3. Paula (Giangreco) Cullison

    Our daughter Pamela and I happened upon the Corpus Domini celebration during our stay in Orvieto. It was one of the many surprises we enjoyed while traveling without a fixed agenda. Thanks for the memories. Your photos are bellissimo!!!

  4. Anne Robichaud

    Yes, always wondrous…not been to Piegaro but in Spello every year in a.m. and in our Assisi in afternoon.
    The fervor is always there..what passione!
    (Doesn’t it animate EVERY Italian festival, after all?!
    :) )

  5. Gian Banchero

    I want to thank ItalianNotebook for continuously presenting a beautiful positive side of the Church that is overlooked by the media (and others) in favor of focusing on the negative aspects of a few. Having been raised in the Italian Catholic tradition I, nor fellow Italian Catholics that I know, have nothing but sweet memories of our priests, nuns, traditions and festivals. I very much thank all of you at ItalianNotebook, and thank YOU Colleen!



  7. Pate Cardel

    I wholeheartedly support the comment of Gian Thank you for letting us know about the wonderful and joyful celebrations of the church I love the old traditions of Italy God Bless them all.

  8. Patti Guererri

    I enjoy this site, the constant reminder of the traditions of Old is neverending. I especially enjoy the celebrations of religious Holidays !!!

  9. Colleen Simpson

    Thank you all for your most gracious comments. Living in the little village of Piegaro with its welcoming people who gladly share and keep so many traditions alive is one of the blessings of our daily life here in Umbria. The religious festivals constantly remind me of how powerful and mysterious life can be when we are all bound together in celebration. By the way, when the village priest, Don Augusto asked me why I did not come to “his table” for Communion and I said, “Well, Don Augusto, you know that I am a Methodist”. He quickly replied, “If you believe in your heart that something is happening in the Eucharist, you are welcome at my table”. And I have been attending Mass ever since. He is so welcoming of all my guests also and a very kind and special man. Every year when he blesses all our streets, the people, the very air we breathe and the earth we stand on I am reminded that we are all one in Creation. The rhythms of the liturgical year are a cycle as well as the Sagras and other harvest festivals. Lucky me to live this life!

  10. Sue Ann Turner

    I look forward to opening my Italian Notebook each day and pass it on to friends who I know will also enjoy it. This was particularly enjoyable. I have been to Italy twice, but always in the Fall. Would love to be there in June to participate in this festival.


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