Corpus christi

Bolsena, a medieval village on the shore of a lake with the same name, on the day of the Corpus Christi becomes even more beautiful with the Infiorata.

bolsena castle

The infiorata is an exhibition of drawings made with flowers, seeds, leaves and peat along the streets of the town.

(Bolsena is also famous for the hydrangeas, there are plenty around town and there’s even a festival a couple of weeks before the infiorata, dedicated expressely to this flower) 

Unfortunately in 2020 and 2021 the event was canceled due to Covid, but now it’s back in full swing and in 2023 it’s due in June 11, day of the Corpus Christi.

I was in Bolsena during the Infiorata in 2019 and I took loads of pictures, that I obviously would like to share. 

bolsena infiorata

but first, a bit of history…

In 1263 AD in Bolsena during Mass a consecrated host started to bleed, as if it was flesh. This miracle was considered proof that the body of Christ is in fact in the Eucharist.

So the following year Pope Urban IV established the feast of Corpus Christi, that previously was only celebrated in Belgium.

From that date, during the Corpus Christi the Eucharist is exhibited and carried around the towns.

In Bolsena the procession is particularly important because with the Blessed Sacrament there’s also a “Sacred Stone” that is taken around, the stone where the blood dropped. 

Moreover, since 1995 the celebration got even bigger with the Infiorata.

Getting ready

preparing the flowers for the infiorata in bolsena
light blue petals for the infiorata
Works for the Infiorata start a few days before the Sunday on which the procession will take place.
women preparing the petals for the infiorata in bolsena
Along the streets of Bolsena you can meet groups of women that separate petals from the flowers, the main material used in the Infiorata.
drawings used as base for the infiorata

The Infiorata and procession are held on a Sunday, but some groups start to draw on Saturday night, because it’s very hot during the day and it’s more difficult to work in the sun. 

drawing used as base for the infiorata
children working at the infiorata during the night
Creating the drawings is a team work, everybody is busy, from the youngest to the elderly. It’s a nice party of the town that involves everyone.
working at the infiorata during the night
preparing the infiorata in bolsena
people working at a drawing during the infiorata in bolsena

On Sunday works start early in the morning  and continue without break.

posing petals for the infiorata in bolsena
people working at the infiorata in bolsena
women preparing the petals for the infiorata
infiorata bolsena
leaves used for the infiorata in bolsena
drawing a sun with petals at the infiorata in bolsena




a sun done of petals at the infiorata in bolsena
watering the flowers at the infiorata because they stay fresh and don't fly away
Flowers are kept wet throughout the day, so that they stay fresh and they don’t fly away.
a geometrical drawing at the infiorata in bolsena

Here are two galleries of images (click on the arrows to see all the pictures) 

Many drawings represent religious images, but there’s more. 

The procession

At 4 pm starts the procession during which Eucharist and Sacred Stone are carried around the town of Bolsena, followed by representatives of the town, of the Church and of the communities. 

procession at the infiorata in bolsena
the corpus christi procession in bolsena
The procession follows the drawings on the streets. Only the priest carrying the Sacred Stone can walk on the flowers, the others must walk on the side.
a banner carried in the Corpus Christi procession during the infiorata in Bolsena
street of bolsena during the infiorata

Once the procession is finished you can walk on the drawings. If you are strong enough. 

Personally I didn’t feel like ruining these works of art that took days to prepare, just an hour after they were finished.   

a lady with red hair drawn with flowers at the infiorata in bolsena

Another gallery. I took so many pictures, and the drawings were all so special, it would a shame not to share them all. 

I was impressed by the quality of the drawings made with products found in nature 

and there are actually many people involved in the making of the Infiorata, with great care and attention

truly beautiful

It’s Going to be Perfect!

vieni con me!