Thursday, June 2, 2016

Scaperia's 'Infiorata' Flower Festival

A well-known Italian song has as its theme, "to make anything, you only need a flower"
(per fare tutto ci vuole un fiore).

The lyrics of this children's song comes alive every year in Scarperia, a village north of Florence in the Mugello valley, which hosts a flower-painting festival, the "Infiorata," the last weekend in May.
At the base of the mountain pass leading to Romagna, Scaperia is one of the last towns in the province of Florence.
Here, residents color up the main streets and celebrate their community.

Frugal Tuscans are known for not throwing away anything, and reutilizing whenever possible. This includes stale bread which is the basis of their signature soups pappa al pomodoro and ribollita.  Here we are at the end of May, where flowers in a number of small town festivals are separated into petals, stems and buds, destined to be
re-used in the flower paintings.

For a day, Scarperia forgets its medieval origins mirrored in austere medieval architecture, and the streets and squares bloom.  Drawings by local elementary school children (Piazza Clasio), middle school students (Piazza dei Vicari) and shop owners who access their inner child (via Roma) on a theme are chosen, faithfully recreated as patterns and
outlined by the teachers or the artistically talented
directly on the cobblestone pavement.

The locations come alive with people -- children, parent and residents -- decorating the designs, which come alive in 2D and sometimes 3D thanks to papier maché and flower installations.

Petals lend the vividness, and with the mixture of colors and texture, the participant can create almost any shade he or she wants to see in the picture.  Dark colors such as brown and black
are applied with seeds and soil.

The 2016 theme was animals in literature.

An eagerly-awaited moment of the event is the climb to the top of Palazzo dei Vicari.
This is no Disney recreation, the building was the originally the headquarters of the military rulers, later turned into the bishop's palace in the late 16th century.
Great place for putting things into perspective: here is an overall view of the 
fox petal painting.

The eye-catching designs are a heart-warming manifestation of the local community.
When the sun goes down, everyone, including the children, pitches in to dissemble their creations.

Beauty is fleeting -- here it lasts the space of a day.

But the "T" in Tuscany also stands for tradition, and next year
the "Infiorata" will once again blossom
and grace the streets and squares of Scarperia.

Per fare tutto ci vuole un fiore -
To make anything, you only need a flower.
               reporting live for Beautiful Florence
                              -- Rosanna 
                                                       & Greta Szab√≥ 

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