Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
Trip End Sep 06, 2013

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What I did
Infiorata Flower Tapestries

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Saturday, June 16, 2012

     One of the treats of living in Italy and using the services of Morale, Welfare and Recreation is a chance to do and see things for which you wouldn’t make a special trip; or that unless you had visited a new location multiple times, you would not fit into your travel schedule.  The trip to Genzano to see the flower paintings of the Infiorata demonstrates the beauty and precision of Italian artists at the same time that you question all the effort put into such a temporal thing of beauty.

     The Infiorata can be traced back to the 1700’s when families would decorate the road in front of their houses for religious processions.  Religious processions still occur these days, but we did not see the church parade their patron saint around the town, we just admired the “sidewalk” art. In Virginia Beach there is a festival to sidewalk art done in chalk called “Art ‘Splosion”.  The Infiorata is Art ‘Splosion in flowers.  Both spectacles are breathtaking examples of artistry, and for the Italian version, infinite more patience.

     The street, Via Belardi rises from the town square up to the church, with the last 100 yards being a bit steep.  The sidewalks at each edge have steps along the entire length hugging the storefronts. The street was roped off as the flower artists, infioratori, did their magic re-creating masterpieces, or re-creating the drawings of their own imaginations out of flowers, flower petals, twigs, sand, leaves or even tobacco.  Think of Buddhist sand paintings, only done mostly with flowers, and rather than geometric shapes, these can truly be masterpieces re-created.  The artists dribbled, dropped, placed and smoothed flowers, sand and other grains into place along the 20 foot wide swaths of pavement to which their image was dedicated.  These beauties were not distributed throughout the town, or on other thoroughfares, but one after another, abutting each other with crowds of workers trying to work side by side and crowds of gawkers pushing to get a better view; add workers with tanks of water strapped to their backs spraying fine mists of water over everything to preserve the flowers for the weekend, and to make sure they just didn’t blow away; the scene was quite crowded.

     Having enough Italian experience, Randy and I gawked, brushed, elbowed, and if necessary, pushed our way through the crowd to get a good view of everything.  At the top of the hill, where you can see the entire street, I pegged myself as an American as I waited my turn before asserting my right to good a good view, and an attempt at a picture of the street.

     Once finished, the renderings stand undisturbed for maybe a day.  And then, the town’s children are allowed to run through the scenes, tearing all the hard work tear apart, just like turning an Etch-a-Sketch over to clean the slate for a new picture.  Luckily we left before that happened.  I don’t think I could stand to watch; at least without joining in.

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