Noto’s “Infiorata” : a celebration of senses



Book your Sicilian holiday in May and we will take you to discover one of the most beautiful  traditions of our island: the Infiorata – “flower drawing” – of Noto. Surely you will have heard of it, but seeing it and experiencing it is something unique. An almost total sensory experience, because it involves eyes (flower colours), smell (their perfume), hearing (the enthusiastic comments of the people) and also tasting, because once in Noto you cannot miss tasting the sweet local recipes. Only touch is excluded from the party because the flower drawings can be admired but not touched.

History of the Infiorata in Italy

The Infiorata, that is to create decorations and drawings with flowers, is a tradition that dates back to the early 17th century in Rome. It was in fact an idea of  the Vatican to embellish the churchyards with drawings created with fresh flowers on the feast of Corpus Domini. The Baroque that -at that time- was imposing as the main artistic style favoured this custom, so it has been handed down to us through the centuries. It remains, even today, a common tradition in central Italy and in some towns of the south. In Sicily there are several Infioratas and the one in Noto is the most famous of all.

History of the Infiorata in Noto

infiorata of Noto 01If there were such an ancient tradition in Noto it is not known from the news, because today’s event dates back to the early 1980s when the city made a sort of twinning with Genzano di Roma and invited the master florists of that town to admire its baroque centre. Thus  the idea of transporting to Noto the tradition of the Infiorata was born. The Infiorata was the typical event of Genzano and the beautiful  Nicolaci street, an absolute baroque expression, was chosen as the symbolic location in Noto.

While in central Italy the flower drawings are closely linked to the religion and the Catholic feast of Corpus Domini, in Noto the event is born with a secular spirit. It is in fact a “Greeting to the Spring”, a celebration of the beautiful days that serve as a passage between spring and summer under the warm Sicilian sun. Over time the event has lost the Genzanian note and has established itself with all the typical characteristics of Noto.

How and where it takes place

As mentioned, Noto’s Infiorata takes place along the beautiful Nicolaci street dedicated to the family whose palace covers much of the street’s length. The baroque balconies of Palazzo Nicolaci are in fact the symbol of Noto and the slight slope of the street allows everyone to admire the floral drawings from any point.

The drawings are prepared days before, by tracing the sketches directly on the asphalt – almost always baroque symbols: flowers and leaves, animals, sometimes human shapes – and then covering everything with flowers. The various shades and dark/light game are created by combining different colours thanks to the position of petals and leaves.

Useful information

Noto’s Infiorata always takes place on the third weekend of May, involving the days of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We suggest you to book in advance because the prices, in that week, rise as if it were high touristic season. We also advise you to go on Saturdays,  less crowded for observing the art works without stress.

To get to Noto, if you take the airplane you will land in Catania and from there you can reach the baroque city thanks to the bus connections (Etna Trasporti, Interbus, AST) or by car rental. Getting to Noto by car is easy: from Catania you will have to follow the Catania-Siracusa highway (exit at Cassibile) which enters the new Siracusa-Gela highway, with a direct exit at Noto. For those arriving by car from the ferries in Messina, first follow the A18 Messina-Catania highway, then the signs for the Catania-Siracusa along the ring road.


The author: Grazia Musumeci