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Florence and Floralia

Spring has begun. The sun comes up brighter, flowers start to bloom… It is time to honor goddess Flora. In Roman mythology, Flora was a goddess of flowers and the season of spring. One among several fertility goddesses, her association with the spring gave her particular importance at the coming of the season. Thus, an ancient Roman holiday was instituted and from 238 B.C. onwards Romans dedicated the days in between the 28th of April and the 3rd of May to a festivity known as Floralia or the “Florifertum”. The years in which the festivity was discontinued, violent winds, hail and rain fell and destroyed the blossoms and crops. It was felt that this was Flora’s anger for the rejection of Her festival.

Primavera, also known as Allegory of the Spring, by Sandro Botticelli, at the Uffizi Gallery

Primavera, also known as Allegory of the Spring, by Sandro Botticelli, at the Uffizi Gallery

It was a festivity that symbolized the renewal of the cycle of life. It consisted on a set of games and theatrical presentations known as ludi florales, including scenic games and plays, with a final day devoted to circus games where animals were set free and beans were scattered to insure fertility.

However, for the city of Florence, Floralia seems to represent something more. It is said that the foundation ceremony of the city took place at the same time as the roman celebration of the arrival of spring. On this way, some say that Florence’s first name, Florentia, developed from the name given to Floralia’s games: Ludi Florales. On the other hand, some claim that Florence first name was Fluentia, owing the fact that it was built between two rivers, and then developed into Florentia.

Either way, Florentia or Fluentia, enjoy the city and the blossom of spring. We will be delighted to share it with you in our luxury hotel in Florence.

Tomorrow is 28th of April…let Floralia begin!

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