In Spring the Rocca Priora vales change colour: the usual green expanse is tinted with the white of wonderful daffodils that give the village a new image while an intense aroma fills the air of emotions.
The English speaker among us may be reminded from our school days of Wordsworth’s poem
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils…
But here we are in the vales of the Castelli Romani finding that ‘host’ to be snowwhite daffodils reflecting the recent snows of winter on the peaks of Rocca Priora.
It is already May and Rocca Priora is preparing to celebrate Mother’s Day with her Flower. This class of daffodils (narcissus) is born spontaneously from a large bulb giving flowers of a particular shape: an inner corolla with yellow-orange shades combines with five or more white petals framed by straight and linear leaves.
The name Narcissus of the flower reminds one of the old fairy tales.
A handsome young hard-hearted, Narcissus, who, mirroring the blue waters of Lake Regillo, falls in love with his reflected image. Realizing that from that face he can never receive love he then let himself die in the sweet waters. The nymphs, who came to the lake to give a worthy burial to the young man’s body, find in its place a flower, the flower of youth, which will be named Narcissus.
The beautiful fairy tale gives even more magic to the beauty of the white flower that has always been loved by the citizens of Rocca Priora.
From the early thirties, men and women from the early days of May devoted themselves to the collection of daffodils. They put flowers tied in small bouquets in large straw baskets ready to be sold on the streets of Rome to tourists and foreigners who were abducted by its beauty and its intense perfume.
In the second week of May, Streets, alleys, squares are dressed in rare beauty: the face of Rocca Priora is bedecked with colorful flowers and carvings that are expertly prepared with love and passion by citizens.
Nature, legend, and sculpture join together in the centre of the village where we can admire ourselves in the Fountain of Narcissus whose waters are a mirror. This is a work by master sculptor Robazza who shaped with his art the link between Rocca Priora and its flower. (Rocca Priora: a Terrace over Rome for Inferno by Robazza)
Today this daffodil is a protected flower that continues to draw a fairytale landscape in the “Valley of Narcissus” at Rocca Priora and to cheer the squares and streets of the historic centre.