During any trip to Italy, we never fail to be surrounded by some kind of art, whether in the form of attractive architecture, an old archway, a time-worn door or the intricate iron work of some rusty balcony or street lamp. In many towns across Italy, about once a year, you will also come across a very unique type of ‘street art’ and I highly recommend going to see it.
When we think about ‘Street Art’, we instantly imagine some wall graffiti and possibly something more sophisticated like Banksy’s or those clever pavement drawings that trick the eye and the mind. In the small town of Genzano, near Rome there’s a long-standing tradition of turning an ordinary street into the most outstanding artwork you could ever imagine by using thousands and thousands of flower petals!
Every year since 1778, in the second week of June local artists get together and cover an entire street with flower carpets inspired by famous masterpieces. The design is at first sketched with chalk and then very carefully filled in. Flower ‘artists’ use the different coloured petals and seeds in the same way that a painter would use the colours on his palette. The result is to be seen to be believed and admired in all its intricate detail, truly a sight to behold!
The end of this beautiful festival is signalled by a group of children allowed to run down the whole length of the street and undo the flower panels. In recent years Genzano’s ‘Infiorata’ has hugely grown in popularity and attracts thousands of visitors from all over Italy and abroad. I have been to see it many times over the years and each time it never fails to capture my imagination with its beauty!
‘Infiorata’ in Genzano, near Rome