For the Feast of Corpus Domini (or Corpus Cristi), astounding floral tapestries carpet medieval alleyways of Spello, Cannara, Bolsena and Assisi (and not only) as if perfumed runners of intricate designs had been rolled out to welcome an important guest. That “guest” is Christ: in solemn procession, the Host in the monstrance will be carried across the Infiorate. Spello’s floral masterpieces win for intricacy of design and variation of flowers, seed pots and leaves used to create the wonders. The gathering of the flowers starts weeks prior, the de-petaling in medieval cellars at night goes on for days and the actual composing of the intricate infiorate goes on through the night. As you can imagine, thousands throng Spello to view the wonders on Corpus Domini (60 days after Easter).
If you wish to take in the beauty (admittedly, on a humbler level), live the passione floreale of the local people – and wander stunning medieval backstreets – head to Assisi on the Sunday afternoon after Corpus Domini. You’ll see elderly women in the cellars de-petaling some flowers and snipping others into tiny bits as children, teens – and not only – compose the floral tapestries.
If you stroll the backstreets around 2 pm, even better: you’ll see some floral designs already set out and almost no one around: lunch pause in the garden behind the old olive oil mill. The Rinaldis are no longer are a reference point of the town in November – when everyone with olive groves in the countryside headed to the Rinaldi mill with their olives for the pressing – but their garden behind the mill is local gathering point at Corpus Domini time. Signora Rinaldi and other women cook and serve a buonissimo lunch for all the infioratori, young ones (sitting together on the lawn) and the not-so-young-ones (seated under the arbor at tables.). The floral passion of the assisiani is ageless.
After lunch, back to work: the procession will wind from the Cathedral of San Rufino just before seven. And the Infiorate tapestries must be ready. They will be.
Read about the origins of Le Infiorate
Read more about Assisi’s floral passion
Read more on Spello floral passion
Read about the pre-Infiorate floral dinner
Read about Italian passione lived in the festivals
Read about the Infiorate created for Pope Francis’ visit to Assisi
Read about how Assisi and Spello welcome the Pope with infiorate