Monday, February 7, 2011

Una Festa

The tiny town of Spello, in Umbria is home to one of the most amazing festivals I have ever been to.  Called L'infiorata, it is celebrated on the feast of Corpus Domini, usually in late May or June, a beautiful time to visit.  I'm writing about this today, because in 5 days, our family from Spello will be here in San Diego, and we are delighted that we can host them here. 
During the week before the festival residents are collecting flowers, and herbs to use in their designs.  Working in teams, they spend evenings pulling the petals off the flowers and separating them into color ways, it's really quite remarkable! Dr. C. and I got to help with this chore, and it was so much fun to hear the Italians sitting around a table sharing their lives as they end the day. 

One evening after we had helped to pull petals, we were walking back to our flat, and we heard music coming from one of the churches, so we slipped into the back, and there in the center was an acapella choir, singing. It was only one of the magical things that we experienced during this week.

As the week progressed, this tiny town (one road in is the same road out) began to grow with visitors, both touristi and those who called this town home at one time.  These festivals bring those from far away home again. 
On Friday, tents began to be erected to cover the streets. 
Drawings were placed on the street, and mid-day to evening on Saturday, the designs begin to take shape.  Some designs are secular, some religious, but all are incredibly intricate, and stunningly beautiful. 
As the designs take shape, one pauses to think that this festival has been celebrated in this town for hundreds of years; a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation, with a reverence for the tradition and the town. 

The townspeople work throughout the night to finish their designs; this is in fact, a competition, and there are winners in categories---unfortunately, I never found out what they were. 

This is the design that we got to help with, and it won in its category!  Que bella!

The photos don't really do these justice--it has to be experienced!  The streets of Spello swell to rock concert mosh pit proportions. 

After mass, the priest and bishop walk through the town blessing the town.  By the afternoon, everyone is gone, and it is quiet, and serene, the Spello that I love!

I know I promised food for today, but I will be back tomorrow with some great ideas for winter comfort foods using your slow cooker, so come on back tomorrow.  Ciao!

No comments:

Post a Comment