Chiesa Della Collegiata, Castiglion Fiorentino
Once a year the town has a parade and celebration for the children who are participating in their first communion. Participants included the priest, parish, altar servers, and kids who had Mass on Sunday night and then proceeded to parade the streets of Castiglion Fiorentino. The church near the Santa Chiara Center began decorating the streets in between mass with flowers, plants, and rose petals. Two women drew out chalk shapes on the streets and came back with roses and filled in the shapes with the petals from freshly cut roses and accented them with other flowers from the area. The flowers used were mostly roses and other various types found and grown locally. It was just two women from a local floral shop. They said that they used flowers to symbolize life and the time of year that first communion happened, May (or Maggio), and to honor the blood and body of Christ. I got to peek inside the church building during the mass and watch the communion during the mass service; however, it was mostly in Italian so I could not understand a large portion of it. I do know many of the prayers from my religious background so I could follow with what was happening during the service. When the mass was over the participants proceeded out the doors and to the streets to admire the floral art on the grounds during the celebratory parade. It was a very cool experience to see how flowers and plants could symbolize and portray such a significant part of the celebration. Italy is a very Catholic country and it was a great way to see firsthand how my floral design and event planning Horticulture focus was able to tie into this celebration. Many people associate Italy with just the vineyards and wine; however, because of the climate in Italy a wide variety of flowers can easily flourish. The gorgeous country of Italy has so much to offer, especially to our group that is lucky enough to be staying in a small town like Castiglion Fiorentino - a town that shows us the life and culture of the Italian people on a daily basis. Agriculture and horticulture both play such a significant role in the Italian culture which is prominent in this local setting.