Enjoy the magic of the Noto Infiorata festival, one of the most colourful celebrations in Sicily. Discover the art of flower carpet.
A magical event that combines religion, folklore and the beauty of nature in spring. If you visit Italy in spring, there is no doubt that the infiorata festivals are a wonderful event to witness. We have already talked about them in this article, collecting what we think are the most beautiful and fascinating ones, from North to South.
Among them, there is one that is particularly loved, not only by Italians, but by tourists from all over the world. We are talking about the Noto Infiorata festival. The beautiful Sicilian city, famous for its fascinating Baroque architecture, is transformed between May and June into an explosion of colors and scents. We want to take you with us on this journey of discovery of the Noto Infiorata festival, shall we go?
Noto Infiorata festival : the flower carpet that captures the senses
Every year in May, the city of Noto, Sicily, is transformed into an open-air museum where master florists create floral carpets of extraordinary beauty. This celebration of spring and nature attracts visitors from all over the world.
In this article, we explore the history and significance of the Infiorata di Noto, the techniques used in creating the floral carpets, the program of the event, and places of interest in Noto. You will discover why the Floral Carpet of Noto is a unique and unforgettable experience for anyone who loves Italian art, nature, and culture.
History of Noto Infiorata Festival
The Noto Infiorata Festival is an evocative event every year on the third Sunday in May. This fabulous event has no religious roots but is a 'Salute to Spring.'
Born in the early 1980s, this initiative originates in the meeting of Noto Genzano di Roma flower artists at the behest of the Provincial Tourist Board. In May 1980, local administrators invited artists from Genzano di Roma to create paintings according to their technique to promote tourism in the southeastern part of Sicily.
Precisely because of this, Saturday 10 May 1980 became a historic date, and every year since then, on the third Sunday in May, the historic city of Noto, in the heart of its 'Stone Garden', hosts one of the fascinating floral mosaics in Europe. This is the Infiorata of Via Nicolaci: a magical carpet of flowers paints the entire street.
The event began as a tourist event but has become a popular festival involving the entire city over time. In fact, the Flower Carpet of Noto has also become an opportunity to conceive and compare with other areas of culture. Each year, a new theme is chosen for the event, which comes to life through an original and enchanting display.
Via Corrado Nicolaci, close to Noto Cathedral, becomes the stage for the flower carpet. It is adorned with an explosion of colors and scents, a sea of flowers, and a magnificent carpet of carnations, roses, daisies, and wildflowers. Local artists create sketches of the enormous floral carpets, which measure 7 metres in length and 4 metres in width. The event starts Thursday night and lasts until Sunday, when thousands of visitors flock to see the wonderful flower arrangements.
The Flower Carpet offers the opportunity to discover the entire city. The festival also includes a series of cultural events dotted around the city streets and in the noble palaces. During this event, it is difficult not to be enchanted by Noto. Colourful, romantic, and historical, the Baroque city is transformed into a magical place. Suffice it to say that Noto has been awarded UNESCO World Heritage status for its beautiful Cathedral of San Nicolò.
Moreover, one can learn about and buy typical Sicilian products by wandering the markets. Also, you can admire the Church of San Domenico and the Theatre on the side streets adjacent to the Corso.
The Art of the Flower Carpet of Noto
The Flower Carpet of Noto is considered a temporary work of art, created with thousands of meticulously arranged flower petals and careful attention to detail.
The designs of the Flower Carpet are created by the best local artists and are unique for each festival edition. The paving space dedicated to each design measures 7 metres in length and 4 metres in width. The design is first drawn by hand on the pavement of the famous Via Nicolaci. The flower laying begins after devising the motif and the work's shape.
Around 400,000 flowers are used for the Infiorata di Noto, some of which come from the 'Val di Noto' area. The most commonly used flowers are chrysanthemums, gerberas, carnations, and roses. In addition to these typical May flowers, the master florists often use fennel, lentisk, twigs, leaves, and stems, as well as bran, rice, peat, and legumes.
The experience of the Flower Carpet of Noto: edition 2023
The Flower Carpet of Noto 2023 will be held from May 20 to 22, with the theme 'Noto is Cinema'. In sixteen floral sketches, the master floral artists will recreate scenes from sixteen films, dramas, and television series filmed in the city of Noto and its picturesque surroundings. Among the most recent productions are The White Lotus 2 (Golden Globe winner 2023) and 'Cyrano', the colossal released in 2018.
The event starts Thursday night and lasts until Sunday, when thousands of visitors flock to see the beautiful flower arrangements. An elaborate irrigation system ensures that the freshness of the flowers is preserved throughout the five days of the event.
The three stairways connecting the lower and upper parts of the town are also artistically adorned during the Flower Carpet. In their infinite variety and beauty, these creations remain open until the next Infiorata.
On Sunday, the Baroque procession will take place, starting from Piazza Mazzini and winding its way through the historical centre. Approximately 200 people will take part in the parade, dressed in the customary clothes of nobles, ladies and knights from the 18th century. The Associazione Sbandieratori della Città di Noto (Association of Flag Wavers of the City of Noto) will also parade through the city streets, reaching the historical centre for an extraordinary performance.