We finally said ‘goodbye’ to winter and spring has arrived. Temperature is nice and warm, sun shines in the blue sky and flowers in Sicily are blooming everywhere. Colors and scents fill the air, the island becomes a sort of rainbow where petals and leaves dominate. Are you curious to discover the most peculiar (and beautiful!) Sicilian blossoming? Keep on reading on Sicilian Secrets’ blog.
Spring means ‘renaissance’, the nature awakes, and flowers represent the highest expression of this season. Sicily is a sort of theater where flora is multi-colored, and several species share the same environment. If you travel all around the island, you’ll be surprise by the diversity of the territory. You’ll be enchanted by the beauty of flowers in Sicily.
Let’s start this journey together…
First stop: Blufi
The first stop of our spring itinerary is in Blufi, a small town in the province of Palermo located on a hill on the southern slope of the Madonie, the main mountain ranges on the island. Once you get there, you will wonder ‘Am I in Holland?’. This village is famous thanks to the blossoming of the tulips. Red tulips spontaneously bloom in a wheat field among almond trees and olive trees and sometimes, if you are lucky, since they bloom between March and May, you can still see some snow up in the mountains…it’s a natural painting.
So, flowers in Sicily become an attraction for visitors who want to explore more than the cities and the beaches. They get there and are simply astonished: look at the Sanctuary of Madonna dell’Olio, right in the middle of a green valley there’s a wide red scrub, ‘hot’ and ‘strong’ like a flame. It’s the energy of the nature!
Second stop: Agrigento
Pink and white, these are the shades of spring or – to be precise – of early spring. Flowers in Sicily will enchant you, especially if you visit Agrigento and the Valley of the Temples between February and March. Winter slowly dies and beauty blooms: don’t miss the flowering of the almond trees! It’s an important event because it symbolizes a sort of ‘rebirth’ and every year, in the province of Agrigento this moment is celebrated with the so-called Sagra del Mandorlo in fiore, a festival in which many folkloristic dancers and singers take part. It’s a pure expression of Sicilian tradition and is also an opportunity to hope for a better future all together.
Flowers in Sicily are…legendary! Beyond this charming pink bud there’s a love story. They say that the almond tree was born thanks to an unshakeable but unlucky relationship between Acamas, the son of Theseus, and Phyllis, the princess of Thrace. Acamas was a warrior and was travelling to Troy to support the Greek army, once he decided to stop some days in Thrace. Here, he met Phyllis and it was love at first sight. But he had to go to Troy where he spent 10 years, and she waited and waited until the day when the war was over, and the other warriors were back home. Phyllis didn’t see the ship of Acamas, suffered a lot and in the end died. Athena was touched by so much love and devotion, so turned the princess into an almond tree.
But Acamas was still alive and when he went back to Thrace to see his beloved girlfriend, he knew she had died. He was desperate and cried by that tree that previously was Phyllis. He hugged the almond tree and suddenly something incredible happened: many flowers bloomed, it was the way to say ‘I love you’ to Acamas.
Third stop: Noto
Spring is…baroque! Let’s move to the province of Syracuse to visit Noto during the third weekend of May and discover how flowers in Sicily become art. Every year since 1980, in this town they organize a very special event called Infiorata di Noto. One of the main streets of the city – via Corrado Nicolaci – is decorated by the artists who use flowers to create true masterpieces. The Church of Montevergini, the baroque balconies and the Palace of Prince Nicolaci Villa dorata are the frame of this natural painting.
They generally ‘draw’ some religious, traditional or mythological scenes (last year, for example, the theme was ‘Beauty is stronger than Fear’), but this year the centerpiece of this festival is Dante Alighieri. The floral carpet 2021 is an homage to the greatest Italian poet during the 700th anniversary of his death.
Just a curiosity, the Infiorata di Noto belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage!