Posted by: Debra Kolkka | June 21, 2014

The night of the petals

I am in Spello for the Infiorata, a celebration held every year on Corpus Domini, the 9th Sunday after Easter. Around 1,000 people gather on the Saturday evening before to create carpets made of flower petals on the narrow streets of this gorgeous town in Umbria.

Spello is full of flowers anyway. Take a look at some of the lovely gardens.






This afternoon tents were erected to protect the areas to be covered with flower petals.




Thousands of flowers were pulled apart and separated into colours.







The designs are laid out on the streets. Some are very complicated.




Some are much more simple.


At about 7.00pm work begins on the designs.





















Food is cooked in the streets to feed the hungry workers.


At midnight the streets were still full with people creating art and people watching them.


…and the whole town smells like flowers.

In the morning there will be a procession led by the bishop through the streets, trampling all the beautiful flower carpets.

I will be up bright an early to see the creations before they disappear.


  1. Reblogged this on Miami Swamp.

  2. What a lot of work and devotion goes into this fleeting display. Thank you for the photos showing the work in progress.

    • I enjoyed being there to see the carpets grow before my eyes.

  3. Debra, that is magnificent – one of the best flower carpets ever I am sure. Such precision and so much dedication by those people- obviously a clever designer and then the team do the hard work. glad you are there to capture on camera for us to enjoy to. Thanks

    • There would be months of preparation to make this day happen…amazing.

  4. Lovely place.

    • Spello is very beautiful.

  5. I would love to have been in Spello to see this Deb. What an amazing event. I can smell the perfume of the flowers from your beautiful photos. Hope you are up early this morning to see the procession.

    • I was up bright and early and then stood for an hour in the hot sun waiting for the procession to leave the church.

  6. I would love to see this it looks just wonderful and so lovely to see the community involvement. How long do the displays last and the perfume must be amazing – enjoy the procession and I’m sure your camera will capture more lovely shots.

    • It was great to see people of all ages involved. Some of the creations were entirely done by under 14 year olds. The carpets are created overnight and last only until they are walked over by the procession the next day. They are not completely ruined and people are careful not to walk on them, but they don’t last very long at all.

  7. What a wonderful way to involve a whole community in such a creative project! A pity all the petals had to be trampled the next day after hours of intricate work. Nevertheless, a marvellous attraction. Thanks for involving us in admiring this project, Deb. Can’t wait to see your next morning photos.

    • The finished works were amazing. People worked all through the night and were still working until 8.00 the next morning.

  8. How wonderful for you to be there to witness this amazing sight, Debra. So much planning, design work and artistic talent, involved in this project. Your photos are really great. Can’t wait to see the finished carpets, and also what it looks like when all the colourful petals are scattered. 🙂

    • The carpets were walked over this morning by the procession, but not completely ruined. They were still largely still intact when I left, but I can’t see them lasting more than another day.

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, Debra! And it is lovely to see the community involvement. We really need events like this one in Bagni di Lucca!

    • We certainly do need something like this in Bagni di Lucca. It would be great to see this community work together.

  10. Oh, I loved Spello! And I was lucky enough to see the Infiorata in Giubbio some years ago….fantastic!

    • Spello is a gorgeous town, so is Gubbio. They will become regular places for us to visit.

      • 🙂

  11. what a breathtaking display of colors in flowers. Almost unreal and it would be wonderful to have a small version of this at a local level in country Queensland. Used to have a Floral Festival each year at the Maryborough Anglican Memorial Church but sadly the number willing to do the preparation fell away, but perhaps seeing these pictures would revive the Festival.

    • I would love to see something like this happen in Australia. There are such great teams of people working together to make something beautiful.

  12. How wonderful. I really must make a point of going there next year to see this. I’m sure you said in an earlier post about a nice b & b there. Beautiful pics as always x

  13. Fab photos. What an event!. Enjoy the procession.

    • After waiting quite some time in the hot sun, I watched a very short procession walk past me and on up the street.

  14. WOW!! I can well imagine how spectacular the finished designs must look! Can’t wait for the unveiling Debra.

    • The finished tapestries were amazing…such intricate work and all with flower petals.

  15. Thank you so much Deb…. I feel transported back to Umbria. The preparations are an inspiration in themselves, the finished designs a fleeting moment of perfection. Enough to make us all believe….in something good at least. Human nature maybe? x

    • It is amazing to watch these things appear from boxes of flower petals. Some people were working with tweezers to create the images.

  16. Wow, what a beautiful festival. I had read about this but had only ever imagined what it would look like and your photos show that it is more than anything I could imagine. Thank you.

    • The finished creations were incredible. I got up at 6.00am to see them without crowds.

  17. We were staying in camiore few years ago and had the privilege of seeing this festival. It was amazing and we have never forgotten how absolutely beautiful it was. Enjoy the beauty and the celebration! These are the memories I carry with me from holidays.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  18. That’s quite a gorgeous display! It’s such transient art. It reminds me of sandcastles or ice sculptures that will disappear moments after they are completed.

    Just pulling all the petals apart looks like a labor of love, but the act of placing them in the proper squares is intense.

    • Some people were working with tweezers to get tiny petals in the right place.

  19. Loved spending the day there in 2012 during corpos domini…….Spello becomes magical in so many ways. One of the Italian events on my bucket list I would definitely love to do again.

    • Spello is a beautiful town. It is great to see people take so much pride in where they live.

  20. Incredible. How long does the flower petal murals last?

    • The murals would not last more than a day.

  21. Wow, I’m speechless. Can’t believe how gorgeous!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

  22. Love this post, Debra. I have only seen photos before of the Infiorata di Capodimonte. One question – are the ‘flowers’ in Spello actually coloured wood shavings?

    • You can actually see people pulling flowers apart and chopping them up, so I think it is all flower petals and seeds. It certainly takes a long time to put it together.

  23. The town itself is so pretty and with this event it must smell so beautiful too. What wonderful and clever community involvement for something that is, just like the petals, so fleeting.

    • I think it is a wonderful thing for a town to do. Bagni di Lucca could do with a bit of this community spirit.

  24. Absolutely lovely and well done. I’m not knowledgeable about carpet making…how do they get the flowers to stay in place?

    • Barriers are put around the site to help keep out wind and rain, but apart from that I could see no fixatives being used. The carpets are lightly sprayed with water, which would help them stick together a bit.

  25. A town and a community that is proud of who they are and enjoy it. That is great!

    • I would love to see it happen here in BdL.

  26. Thanks for taking us through the steps of this fascinating tradition. Your detail gave us a very good picture show of the process. Can anyone join the bishop trampling through the streets?

    • The barricades come down just before the procession and the bishop and his little group walk over the carpets. Then everyone is free to walk behind, but most people were walking around them as it seems a pity to destroy the beautiful carpets. I left shortly after the procession, so I don’t know how long the flowers lasted.

  27. Hi Deb, your photos are divine, Oh how I miss all those beautiful flowering pot plants. I was in Castelraimondo a few years ago for an Infiorata. Stunning and the atmosphere is fabulous.

    • I loved the Infioriata, such an amazing festival.

  28. You find the best festivals! Amazing what they do with the flowers.

    • I will try another town next year.

  29. WOW! What a great work, Thanks and Love, nia

    • It is amazing what people can do when they work together.

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