Rome celebrated the traditional Infiorata Romana yesterday on the feast day of the city’s patron saints, Peter and Paul.
Via della Conciliazione and Piazza Pio XII, near Piazza San Pietro, were transformed into a “carpet of flowers”, with more than 1,000 professional florists (maestri fiorai) from Italy and around the world displaying their creations. Thousands of flowers were used to create 50 "flower paintings" totaling 3,000 square meters.
Sunday’s event was the culmination of four days of celebration of this ancient art, believed to have started in Rome in the first half of the 17th century. The tradition of creating “paintings with flowers” in front of St. Peter’s Basilica for the feast of the two holy apostles was started on June 29, 1625 by the head of the Vatican flower shop, Benedetto Dei, and his son Pietro. It was thanks to Gian Lorenzo Bernini that the infiorata art then spread to the area around Rome, where the artist organized Baroque festivals, and subsequently to the rest of Italy and the world.
Pope Francis, during the Sunday’s Angelus, praised the colorful creations. There was even a composition reproducing the pontiff’s face.
Learn more about the art of the Infiorata and Italy's best Infiorata festivals here.