Every year since 1980, on the third weekend of May, Noto, Sicily (Syracuse province), welcomes the flower festival or the infiorata. The city of Noto is known as the “the Garden of Stones”, capital of Baroque, and host of one of the most important and beautiful events in eastern Sicily.
This year it will host its 40th edition on the 17, 18, and 19 May when the illustrious Via Nicolaci will be transformed into a real floral carpet; a riot of colors and scents that make the Baroque spring magical. If you have never witnessed this event, close your eyes for a minute and imagine a long uphill road, one of the most fascinating in the world, flanked by Baroque palaces such as the Villadorata Palace with its charming corbels depicting mermaids, chimeras, centaurs and other suggestive sculptures, which support the eighteenth-century balconies. Imagine stopping at the foot of the Infiorata, enjoying the colorful spectacle that culminates with the façade of the majestic Montevergini Church. Imagine a multicolored mosaic where field flowers, carnations, gerberas, daisies and roses give life to real paintings that leave you speechless for their attention to detail and artistic beauty. This is just a glimpse of the magnificence of Noto during this festival.
This year’s theme is “Sicilians in America”. After the 2017 edition dedicated to the Principality of Monaco and the 2018 to China, the 2019 edition of the Infiorata will host a profound theme that aims to reconstruct individual and community memories, normal and exceptional stories, past and vanguard of being ” The Sicilians in America ”.
On Friday, at 5.00 pm, just before sunset, the 2019 Infiorata will be inaugurated. The florists, winners of the design competition, will sketch out their designs with special chalk. The florists will continue to work all night long, until finally at dawn on Saturday, sixteen large paintings take shape. It’s a magical, emotional moment in which the colors and perfumes explode. The floral carpet will remain available to visitors from all over the world until Sunday night, until it practically dissolves into nothing by Monday morning.
Throughout the weekend Noto is alive with: shows and side events, cultural events of all kinds, exhibitions, tastings, open museums and churches, live music, and dance and folklore in the squares. The detailed program can be found online on various websites of the town of Noto.
Not to be missed: the eno-gastronomic stands in Piazzale Villa Comunale, the floral decorations in Piazza del Municipio, on the Sagrado of the church of the SS. Salvatore and in via G. Galilei, the Flowered Steps (Scala in fiore) in via D. Alighieri and in via F.lli Bandiera.
Among all these events that surround the Infiorata, it is only right to mention the Baroque Court (Corteo Barocco). On Sunday the 19th at 15.00, the parade begins along the streets of the historic center. About 250 people in period costume, followed by the band, leave the noble palaces recalling the splendor of 18th century Noto during the years following the reconstruction after the earthquake of 1693. The parade criss-crosses through the main streets of downtown, and Via Cavour to Palazzo Nicolaci (where the Infiorata takes place) then heads towards Piazza Municipio, the central square of Corso Vittorio Emanuele where the Cathedral of Noto and Palazzo Ducezio dominate. Accompanied by the Grand Master of Ceremonies, they gather under the emblem of the family they represent, located under one of the eleven arches of the Palace. Immediately after, the flag-wavers perform their acrobatics giving life to a spectacular show.
Still much more awaits you during this magical weekend full of events, shows, stands of all kinds, fun, relaxation, scents and flavors of Sicily! The baroque city whose natural stone warms to an orangy-pink at sunset is so suggestive that it must be seen at least once in a lifetime. So if you have not done it yet, what are you waiting for? You won’t regret it!
To learn more about this area, read our other articles by clicking here: Vendicari Nature Reserve
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