ItalianNotebook – Italy Travel Blog

Flowers of Passione



It all started on a late June Sunday in the early 1900’s when an elderly woman from Spello (Umbria) scattered shredded bunches of brilliant yellow wild broom and mossy green wild fennel on the cobblestone street in front of her home. She had scrambled the slopes of Mt. Subasio, Spello’s backdrop, to pick the fragrant broom and pungent fennel for her floral “carpet” laid out to welcome the Communion Host venerated by Catholics as the true Body of Christ, carried through the streets by the bishop for the Feast of Corpus Domini.


In the years following that first simple floral tribute, other Spellani made this practice of flower decorations on the streets a new tradition, adding blooms of various colors, plants, seed pods and leaves to make creations of their own, competing with each other to create the most intricate floral masterpieces of singular beauty. The Corpus Domini Infiorata remains a tradition not only in Spello but has spread to other towns and cities as well.

These days, more than 2000 people work for about three months in preparation for the all-night labor before the feast day. They now lay out 80 glorious floral petal carpets which will cover the streets and piazzas. The bishop who walks solemnly under an elaborate embroidered canopy, flanked by the confraternity of Corpus Domini members, in white tunics and yellow cloaks. On each side of the bishop, a pair of carabinieri (the state police) march solemnly in their snappy dress uniforms, hats topped with red plumes. Marching bands playing processional hymns precede the bishop and the faithful who follow, chanting prayers.

(If you missed the Infiorate this year, join me next year on June 24th for a day of wonder!)

(Ed.: See last year’s note on the infiorata too. Same event, different take, equally beautiful photos!)


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