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Campobasso’s Spectacular Floral Display in Honor of the Virgin Mary

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Flower festival of Campobasso

On May 31st of each year, an intriguing, colorful event is held in Campobasso in honor of the Virgin Mary. It is one of the most popular traditions celebrated by the residents of Campobasso during which the statue of the Madonna dei Monti (Virgin Mary of the Mountains), venerated in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, is carried in a procession through the streets of the ancient village and the city center. The strong devotion to the Virgin has led to the procession evolving over the years to include characteristic elements such as the floral display (infiorata). Every year, huge crowds are drawn to Campobasso to see this visually exciting display.

Numerous artists and devotees of the Marian culture decorate the streets with flower petals and grass tapestries, creating marvelous compositions characterized by geometric designs and religious symbols- invocations to Mary.

Processione di Santa Maria dei Monti

It is a century-old tradition dating back to 1911, the year in which the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore was refurbished and inaugurated thanks to the Capuchin friars who restored it and brought it back to its former glory. In fact, in 1905, the bishop of Boiano-Campobasso ceded the abandoned church to the friars so that they could make it usable again.

Scholars of art and folk traditions claim that the floral decorations were born in Rome in the first half of the seventeenth century in the Vatican headquarters. Today, the infiorata is a celebration that unites many areas of central and southern Italy.

The artists, once they have created the images, go over the contours of the figures with coffee grounds and fill the religious icons with combinations of colored salts, finely-ground chalk and thousands of red, yellow, white and blue petals creating different nuances. The chromatic effect is exceptional. Up above, from the balconies that line the streets, intertwined ribbons and colorful cockades hang.

In addition to the flower “carpets”, the streets of the village are also scattered with small altars where the Bishop stops for a prayer. During the procession on May 31, only the Madonna dei Monti who is hoisted up above and accompanied by the singing of the faithful, can walk on the blossoming path.

Flower festival in the historic center of Campobasso

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photo copyrights: Associazione centro storico Campobasso,, MoliseWeb,, Notizie Molise.