In the first weekend of July Genazzano is covered in colour and is populated by thousands of visitors thanks to an event, the most important for this small town and one of the most sought after by tourists: the infiorata – the flower festival. The event is one of those not to be missed for lovers of history and local traditions of small towns.
The particular unique feature of this event is the possibility that gives the tourist to participate during the night of Saturday in laying out the composition of the floral carpet. There is a great deal of spontaneity in the realization of these drawings and alongside the sacred themes there is no shortage of subjects linked to current events.
Do not worry if you do not have anything to eat or drink, the local cafes and bakeries will give you coffee and food to refresh you throughout the night!
We can trace the origins of this festival back to 1883, when the Apostolato della Preghiera was born by the Jesuit priest Francesco Saverio Gautrelet, an association of faithful whose purpose is to live and propagate the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this event that takes place alongside the procession of the Sacred Heart.
Other sources trace its origins back to 1625 during the pontificate of Pope Urban VIII but there are no documents that can verify this hypothesis and it is only a so-called “local town story”.
Tradition has it that the flowers of broom, daisies and other types are collected in the mountains and in the fields. To date, the collected flowers are not enough so they are forced to buy them.
The first operation is precisely the collection of flowers that takes place in the week before the infiorata. After the harvest, the groups of flowers, actually 25 divided into 17 districts, are separated and conserved in the cool cellars built into the tuff.
On Saturday night, after midnight, the second operation takes place which involves creating these drawings, along the road, with the participation of the locals and of the visitors.
The third task to do is to arrange the flowers on the pavement.
About eight o’clock in the morning on the Sunday of the Sacred Heart, finally, there is a carpet of flowers over a thousand meters long.
In the evening there is a religious procession and the historical re-enactment of the old and the new testament where people parade in costume over the carpet of flowers.
The flow of tourists has always been very large and about 5,000 / 10,000 people are welcomed each year.
In 2012, the inhabitants of Genazzano wanted to do something different from the usual, different from the flower displays of Gerano, Spello, Noto, Fabriano or Genzano, which are towns with a tradition of flower festivals with dried flowers.
Thus, in that year, the world’s longest infiorata was created: over 1 km long and 1 metre wide, exclusively with fresh flower petals. It was certified by Guinness World Records in London under the name “the longest flower petal carpet“, 1642.57 square meters without break.
This event has recognized the historical and cultural value of infiorata as an Italian activity of excellence.
Participating in the creation of the carpet of flowers is very simple: just go to the Pro Loco of Genazzano and advise of your presence. Once you arrive in Genazzano, you will be sent to help a district and you will have a unique experience full of emotions!
In addition to the participation in the flower festival there is the opportunity to participate in guided tours organized by the Municipality and the local Pro Loco to discover the joys of this ancient village.