Saluda residents participate in Italian Flower Festival

Published 1:25 pm Thursday, June 15, 2023

Delegation travels to Sister City in Italy

It was a very busy week for 19 residents of Saluda and their friends and family. on June 9, they journeyed to Saluda‘s Sister City, Carunchio, Italy, arriving just in time to be active participants in the annual flower festival, the “Infiorata.”

The annual festival celebrates the feast of Saint John the Baptist with a special community celebration based on flowers. In the central piazza of the village, various groups and organizations create beautiful six by ten foot “paintings” constructed completely out of flowers, flower petals, ferns, leaves, coffee powder and other natural substances. The Saluda delegation created two different designs, one of the Saluda Sister City logo and the other of a large dove of peace.

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All of Carunchio turned out and there were 30 different designs made by various community groups. Even the mayor of Carunchio, Gianfranco d’Isabella, and his wife, Paola, were on hands and knees preparing a flower painting. Massimo Criscio, owner of the Palazzo Tour d’Eau and host to the Saluda delegation, was kept busy gathering crates of flowers and giving technical advice. 

When all the flower paintings were completed, the participants walked up to the historic Church at the top of the mountain for a service, then paraded down flower-festooned streets to the central piazza accompanied by the clergy, a band playing Italian songs and beautiful children dressed in white gowns. Music, food, dancing and a joyous celebration went on through the evening.

Saluda Sister City worked with Criscio to time the week-long trip to fit with the schedule of the Flower Festival.  Saluda’s Judy Ward, who helped create the Saluda peace dove, commented, “It is the most magical place in the world. Everyone needs to come!”

The week-long trip to Carunchio was filled out with cooking classes, a seafood luncheon on an ancient trabucco fishing house on the edge of the Adriatic and visits to a cheese production facility, a bell foundry and other places of interest in the Abruzzo region. 

Saluda resident Elizabeth Taylor called the trip “a dream come true.”

“This trip has been eye-opening,” said Taylor. “It is the beginning of a whole new set of adventures for me! Seeing life thought the eyes of the people of Carunchio has filled me with appreciation for their culture and traditions. Many times we did not speak the same language but there was no barrier to heartfelt communication with those I met. It has been such an honor to share experiences with them.”

Massimo Criscio summed up the week saying the time seemed to pass way too fast. He has hosted the Saluda Sister City delegations since 2014 in his three-hundred-year-old restored Italian Palazzo at the peak of the village of Carunchio.


Submitted by Judy Thompson