Every June in Itri a grand flower festival or Infiorata is held on the Sunday following the Feast of Corpus Domini . This event takes many months of dutiful planning. It is a real community event when many of the towns folk gather to work together. Each little district of the town have their own particular design to work on.
Every June that we can remember, during our 8 years in Itri, the temperature during this period has normally been up in the 30’s, hot and sunny. However this June the weather was unseasonally inclement, with cold blustery winds and heavy showers. People were very concerned that it could ruin the flower festival.
Kay and I really wanted to take part in the preparations, so warmly dressed, we eagerly reported for duty at the school hall, each armed with a shoe box and a pair of scissors as requested. The hall was already buzzing, with huddles of ladies and some children.
We soon found ourselves some plastic chairs to sit on and we were then each presented with a crate of red carnations to start work on.
The stems had already been removed and we were instructed how to carefully cut the petals off just above the green base of the flower. The fresh confetti of petals were placed into a crate, the bases were thrown into another basket for later use. Nothing went to waste.
I struck up a conversation with some of our fellow workers, it was a pleasant opportunity to make new friends.
The following day we returned to the school for another session. This time we found ourselves working on pale yellow carnations.
After several days of rain everyone was praying that the weather would calm down for Sunday’s Infiorata. Thankfully on the Sunday morning the weather had greatly improved. From early in the morning the Via della Repubblica is closed off to traffic so that the teams of artists and volunteers can begin to work on their colourful creations.
Some groups had simply marked out their designs on the tarmac in chalk.
Others prefered to use paper templates on which to create their designs.
Coloured sand or dried coffee grinds are often used to outline the images. Then the shapes are filled in with the coloured flower petals, leaves and greenery, seeds, pulses and sand.
The design we had been working on was one of colourful butterflies.
The whole of Via della Repubblica was a bustling hive of creative activity.
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott