Sicily Flower Festival

It’s blooming marvellous...

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Jules Pearson

Sophie Gackowski
HomeAway travel expert


Sicily Flower Festival See what I just did there? Yeah, sorry about that.

It has flowers, it’s a festival – it’s a festival of flowers. What more do you need to know? Ah, ok. Probably a bit more than that. Well, Sicily Flower Festival isn’t actually just one festival – towns across the whole of the island hold these events during May and June. But the most famous? L’infiorata di Noto, which roughly translates to, well, bedecking the town of Noto with flowers. It is, in short, one of the country’s most beautiful sights to behold – so it’s little wonder tourists from afar as the UK travel here just to witness it.

Fanatic about flowers? It doesn’t really matter – there’s more to Sicily Flower Festival than petals.

 

Sicily Flower Festival: everything you need to know


   

Sicily Flower Festival: the basics Sicily Flower Festival: the basics

L’infiorata di Noto is held during the third weekend of May every year, during which artisans, both local and international, come to Noto on a Friday. They spend the day carpeting Via Nicolaci, one of its main streets, in flowers grown especially for the festival, and on Saturday and Sunday, their works are displayed. And boy are they pretty – mosaics made up of all manner of blooms litter the floor, sweetening the air with their scent. All sorts of pictures feature, from the surreal to the celeb-themed.

 

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Sicily Flower Festival: creation Sicily Flower Festival: creation

Every year, there’s a different set theme that artists must work to when honing their creations. They’re given an allotted space (well, we all know what precious gardeners are like…), and then they’re all set to make Via Nicolaci, pictured left, even more pretty. A kaleidoscope of colour, the artists first make the outline of their works with an organic soil, before filling in the gaps with seeds, legumes and – of course – flowers. Walkways are then set up either side of the display, so you can get as close as possible (without walking off with souvenirs!).
 

 

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Sicily Flower Festival: destruction Sicily Flower Festival: destruction

It’s not just flowers at L’infiorata di Noto – there are performance artists, parades, and – on the Monday – an amazing display of “we don’t give a damn”. Yep, after the artists have spent hours crafting these beautiful works of art, kids are let loose to run through and kick them, and generally just do what little kids do best. You can’t help but feel a tug of “oh no!”, but it’s a theme that runs through many Italian festivals: the elders create, and the youth destroy, symbolising the necessity of renewal and progress. Plus, it’s pretty fun to see them giggling at their talent for destroying flowers.

 

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Sicily Flower Festival: Noto Sicily Flower Festival: Noto

Noto is a beautiful town at the best of times, possibly best known for its Baroque architecture – it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. So, it’s more than likely that you’ll want to kick around once the kids have kicked the flowers to bits. Firstly, you’ll want to stop for a seat at the Cathedral of San Nicolò, left, the grand, sweeping staircase of which provides the perfect place to recline on a sunny May day, chilly granita in hand. Then, after a lunch of ravioli, orange salad, or swordfish (Sicily’s exceptional cuisine can’t be summated in a sentence!), accompanied by some of the finest wine on the island, you can tackle the three-dozen churches in town...

 

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Sicily Flower Festival: explore Sicily Flower Festival: explore

With the city of Syracuse just over an hour away, it’d be a shame not to take a day trip. Birthplace of Archimedes, the famous Greek mathematician, it was touted by Cicero as "the greatest Greek city and the most beautiful of them all." Well, it’s obviously not Greek today – but the remnants of occupation are certainly there. There’s a theatre, temple and ancient quarries, as well as a Roman amphitheatre to explore. And when you come back home to your rental in Noto, you’ll still smell those flowers on the evening breeze.

 

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Main image, 2 and 3 by Malega
Image 1 by gnuckx
Image 4 by Stefano Mortellaro
Image 5 by Urban
 

 

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