Secretariat of the Valley of the First Nativity Scene
One of the most awaited events during the Giugno Antoniano Reatino Festival [Antonian June of Rieti, (Italy)] was the artistic “Churches in Bloom” biennial flower decoration event (June 24-25, 2023) organized in collaboration with the Porta d’Arce and Infioritalia Associations as part of the 7thannual Valley of the First Nativity Scene Project. During this event, important places in historic downtown Rieti exhibited colorful carpet-like displays created entirely from flowers, using skill, color selection, patience and technique.
Many flower decorators, young and old, accepted the invitation to decorate the route of the Procession of the Candles with logos and symbols representing this cultural event. The event is intended to promote the history of the Sacred Valley of Rieti. This year, it is also dedicated to the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the Christmas at Greccio and the Later Rule of St. Francis.
A vast number of spectators came to admire these works, which were created by master flower decorators from the “Infiorata” Associations of the Cities of Cervaro, Castelraimondo, and Alatri and from the Infiorata Associations of the Bona Morte Infioratori and the Carmelite Monastery in Artena.
Last year, a series of flower decoration events in Rieti was jointly organized by various local groups. The most prominent of these was an exhibition in the foyer of the Flavio Vespasiano Theater. The displays served as a preview for this year’s events. There will be additional flower decoration exhibitions launched this year, starting on November 29, 2023, the Feast of All Franciscan Saints, and the day on which the Later Rule of St. Francis was approved. That exhibition, inspired by the Later Rule, will remain on display throughout the Christmas season. It will be curated by the Pious Union of St. Anthony of Padua in Rieti in collaboration with the Porta d’Arce and Infioritalia Associations.
These collaborative events will continue with new “colorful” initiatives throughout the year. According to the Most Reverend Vito PICCINONNA, Bishop of Rieti, they symbolize the deep and timeless friendship that bound Saints Francis and Anthony together and represent the spirit that made Francis “an exemplary witness for Anthony and so many others.”