Entering the 12th c.- church of San Lorenzo Martire in Spello, your attention is drawn immediately to the golden baldacchino dominating the altar:
The 17th-c. Spello baldacchino copies the splendid Bernini bronze baldacchino of the same period towering over the main altar of St. Peter’s:
Less than ten years after the Bernini baldacchino, artisans in Spello had created the San Lorenzo baldacchino, but in wood, then gilding it. Centuries meet here, for this ornate canopy covers an altar set on a section of a Roman travertine column:
The baldacchino imitates the canopy of fabric carried in church processions – or once placed over an altar, a throne or dais. This year, this San Lorenzo “stationery canopy” symbolically replaced the brocade canopy carried over the Host during Spello’s beloved Infiorate procession on the Feast of Corpus Domini (sixty days after Easter).
Due to COVID, for the first time in 60 years, the spellani could not unite to create those Infiorate – floral tapestry wonders carpeting the Spello streets and piazzas: over eighty of them.
Yet in Spello, the Feast of Corpus Domini is inextricably linked to floral tapestries. The tradition was carried on by twenty masked infioratori (“flower tapestry-makers) who created a single splendid infiorata – 12 sq. meters – near the altar, working a few at time, the baldacchino just behind them: