The art of painting with flowers: Italy's infiorate

Jun 08, 2021 269

BY: Luca Signorini

In one of his masterpieces, Oceano Mare  (Ocean Sea), Italian novelist Alessandro Baricco describes an artist who painted the sea with sea water. I remember thinking, after reading the book for the first time, that there couldn’t be anything more poetic.

Little did I know that, by looking into my own country’s long-lasting traditions, I was to encounter something as magical, that didn’t come, however, from the inspired pen of a contemporary artist, but from the ancient ingenuity of our ancestors. The art of “painting” images with flower petals has been popular in Italy for almost four centuries. We call it infiorate, and the name itself has beauty to it, because “infiorare” means “to cover with flowers,” something that speaks of colors and silk, of scents, velvets and abundance.

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