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Mugello: the Infiorata in Scarperia


by Simone Focardi – As per tradition, on the last Sunday in May, Scarperia dresses itself in flowers for the traditional Infiorata, which customarily ushers in spring in a wholly unusual way.

The main square in the town, dominated by the magnificent Palazzo dei Vicari, and all the streets of the center are strewn with a vibrant and fragrant blanket of flowers. Local artists execute original “paintings” using only flower petals, creating pictures of a different theme chosen each year.

This traditional popular festival brings together the entire community because it requires so much preparation. There is the work of removing the petals from the flowers, setting down the design selected on paper, reproducing it in chalk on the stone pavement, laying out a thin layer of glue on the surface of the chalk image and then carefully arranging the flowers to form the beautiful and fragrant creative paintings, whose palette is necessarily limited only to the hues offered by nature – the colours of the flowers (chiefly carnations) and the shades of green and brown of the leaves.

All this hard work pays off, creating a vibrant, multihued landscape in a long mosaic of images that resemble illustrations of fairy tales.

The tradition of the Infiorata is still alive and well in many villages in Italy, frequently related to age-old folkloristic traditions or the religious feast of Corpus Domini.

Florence also celebrates La Fiorita at this time of year. This is a very different event that commemorates the spontaneous initiative of the Florentines who blanketed with flowers the Piazza della Signoria, the place of martyrdom of Girolamo Savonarola the morning after his anguish.


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