Flowers Found in Italy
Spring and now Summer have arrived with gorgeous flowers in Italy – found everywhere you look. This explosion of color and fragrance is around almost every corner in Tuscany and Umbria (other regions too) – and a photographer’s dream. The season starts in March when you’ll begin to see individual flower buds dot the landscape. It is, however, during the months of April and May when you’ll spot jaw-dropping fields in picturesque settings painted with red poppies, and white, pink, and purple wisteria. If you love flowers, you should consider visiting Italy in the late Spring and Summer.
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These red beauties will start gracing us with their presence in about April/May. In Tuscany, however, it is probably more to the end of May to really enjoy the full blooms throughout the hills. One of my favorite places to catch these delicate flowers is along the train tracks. Their seeds scattered from the wind will just show up in the most unexpected places.
The Small Town, Massarosa
My friend JoAn, an amazing photographer and fellow blogger took me for a 30-minute trip outside of Lucca to this small town. She and her husband, Jim had stopped there the previous week and she wanted to go back for more photo captures. I was a very willing participant. The area was filled with lavender, sunflowers, and lotuses. Lotuses? I had seen them in ponds but a farm of lotuses. She had me intrigued.
As we walked down a short path, I stopped – frozen in my steps as the field of lotuses came into view. My hand covering my open mouth, I gazed at JoAn. I’m sure a tear might have begun to well in my eyes. I was stunned at the beauty before us. Shades of pink and white – right in front of us! I’ve never seen lotuses before and I was astonished at their beauty. You can catch JoAn’s post about them too!
A Special Surprise – Flowers Found in Italy
As we began moving into our apartment in Lucca, our landlord texted me about an event that happens once a year. It was actually happening now and we had a limited time to go experience it. I went to the website he sent me about Castelluccio di Norcia. The photographs were amazing as they shared day-to-day photos of the progress of color. To truly appreciate our disappointment on the first day – take a look at the photos on Castelluccio’s website. They are incredible – like a painting!
I immediately started looking at how Gary and I could get there and then remembered JoAn’s love of photography and the flower photos she just took of the lavender, lotuses, and sunflowers. I forwarded her the link. A brief while later – she asked us if we would like to drive with them and stay overnight in Norcia to explore the fields of flowers. Gary and I jumped at the chance not only to go visit Castelluccio but to get to know our new friends better. We made arrangements and off we went about two weeks later when we figured the flowers would be in full bloom.
My Love of Sunflowers
If you want to see fields upon fields of a sea of yellow, visit Tuscany and Umbria. Depending on when the seeds were planted, you have to wait until June – August before you see their beautiful large faces. Some latecomers might still be around in September – but you just never know. They always bring a smile to my face. They are my happy flower. Perhaps that is why I choose it as our logo for Our Italian Journey.
As we traveled with Jim and JoAn to Castelluccio, we came across a field of sunflowers with their heads facing us. You probably know that the face of the sunflowers will follow the sun as it changes position in the sky during the day. Well, this field was welcoming us with their smiling faces. Jim pulled over to the side of the road per JoAn’s request. While Gary and Jim waited in the car, we popped out to capture some beauty.
Castelluccio di Norcia
This town sits high on a hill watching over the lentil crop plain. Poppies, daisies, and cornflowers emerge annually alongside the lentils in Castelluccio in Umbria. Known as the “fioritura” or natural flower show, this was the event our landlord, Maurizio told us about. It’s the wildflowers that help the fragile lentils grow by propping them up. People come from all over Italy to witness this event.
After arriving at our hotel and checking in, we immediately went to see the flowers. Following winding roads and climbing up and down a few mountains, we begin to descend onto the plain. I think I might have been the first one to say, “This can’t be it,” as the landscape looked like the photos we saw on the website – but there was no color – anywhere! Jim found a place to pull over and we all emerged from the car. We walked a little bit and I was overcome with disappointment. Had we missed the peak by waiting two weeks? A woman overheard JoAn and me talking and told us this year was not a good year for the flowers due to the lack of rain. Last year was spectacular she informed us. Swell, I thought to myself. Poor Jim & JoAn drove four hours and this was it?
A few photos taken, JoAn said we should come back in the morning to see them in a different light. For those that know me, I am the glass-is-half-empty kind of girl. I was more than willing but not convinced the time of day would make that much of a difference.
Photographers Tip: The morning is the best time of day to capture photos of flowers before the light becomes intense with the heart of the day.
We walked around the town of Norcia (post coming shortly) and enjoyed dinner, watched Belgium vs. England in the Euro 2020 playoff on a huge screen in the piazza, and enjoyed breakfast at our hotel the next morning. Bags packed we headed back to Castelluccio. You’ll find out why Norcia is special to Gary and me in the upcoming post.
As we descended down the same last mountain – there indeed was a bit more color. Not like the photos on the website, but I was a bit more encouraged. Again finding a parking spot, we walked the fields – enjoying them more and more. We all took bunches of photos and I was happy JoAn wanted to return. She was so right – the morning light mixed with the cooler morning temperature made the flowers pop.
Did you notice?
Did you happen to notice the shape of Italy designed in trees on the hill in the selfie above? Quite unique!
A Bit of Entertainment Too!
As we were getting ready to leave and head back to Lucca, there were sheep grazing in the lentil field. One lone cattle dog upon the instructions of his master, got the sheep gathered and over to the other side of the road. Well done, pup!
Flowers Found in Italy Conclusion
Of course, it all depends on Mother Nature and the weather when it comes to wildflowers. Dry years will yield fewer flowers and colors but a bad rainy season can wash the seeds away. Gary and I would like to thank JoAn and Jim for an amazing trip, stopping in Montefalco for lunch on the way to Castelluccio di Norcia, and Montepulciano – plus a stop for a wine tour – on the return home. Remember to check out their blog and follow them on social media.