During the month of June the Feast of Corpus Domini attracts many visitors to Itri for the Infiorata or Flower Festival. This is a real community event involving many hours of preparation, co-operation and hard work. The projects are sponsored by local businesses to provide the not insignificant funding.
The evening before a team of helpers patiently pluck petals from flower heads, and carefully cut up the remaining pieces of foliage and stems. These are separated into various boxes containing different shades and colours.
On the feast day, preparations commence at the crack of dawn. Certain roads are closed off in the town, along the route of the Corpus Domini procession.
Intricate designs are carefully chalked out on the selected stretches of road. Volunteers then painstakingly fill in the outlines with the appropriate colours and textures.
Eventually they create a rich and elaborate “tapestry” of petals. The decorative carpet of flowers has scenes depicting religious and cultural scenes and messages of peace and brotherhood.
Sadly we missed this event in 2009 so we were keen to witness it this year. Fortunately the weather was perfect with clear blue skies and little wind ideal for keeping the pictures in pristine condition. This Sunday, Itri was in festive mood with stalls set up selling traditional treats such as torrone, roasted peanuts and candy floss.
Also this year we were especially fortunate to be able to view the spectacle from the roof of an adjacent three storey palazzo, where Davide, Nandi and family now live:
After lunch people began to passeggiata along the decorated streets, marvelling at the imaginative creative works of art.
The Corpus Domini procession starts in the higher, historic part of Itri and slowly winds its way through the various neighbourhoods of the town, before finally passing over the exquisite floral masterpieces, destroying all the hours of hard work in just a few fleeting seconds.
You can see more of my photos of the 2010 Infiorata and of Itri here at my Flickr account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nonnalou/sets/72157607288135511/
Here is a video of the day’s events by Alessandro Scarpati:
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott