Assisi’s June Lavender Festival
Monet immortalized the lilac spread of lavender fields in 19th-century Provence and these days, the Castellini family’s lavandeto purple shades fan out in the valley below Assisi.
At their late June/early July Festa della Lavanda – sixth edition this year – visitors meandered along paths in the family’s 4 acres of purple, white, blue, pink and lavender (over forty) varieties, stopping to take photos of medieval Assisi perched on a hill off in the distance, purple lavender swatches in the foreground. Some opted for a horse-drawn carriage ride along the paths in the midst of the lavender, others rode horses or led their children on horses.
Various stands lined the paths, too: one displayed lavender sachets, soaps, bouquets and lavender-themed embroideries and at another, Stefano sold cookies with lavender (and not only). Nearby, young Vienna displayed her paintings incorporating flowers and at another stand, the artist showed paintings on the floral motif. And if you’re hungry, head to the cheese stand to savor local cheeses, accompanied with local wines or beer. (Note: lavender-highlighted dishes star at Saturday night dinners during the festival).
And not just lavender stars at this festival: other aromatic plants and herbs were on display and on sale as well. And just past the nursery stands, Tuscan banker Roberto proudly displays his handmade cane and willow baskets of every shape imaginable. “I grew up in a family of cestai (“basket-makers”) and now that I’m retired, this has become my passione.” It was late Sunday afternoon and he was loading up his van with the baskets, heading home to Pescia,Tuscany until next Friday and the second weekend of the Festa della Lavanda.
Dusk was drawing in and day was giving up to the night as I left the lavender fields, the purples now delicately muted. But their perfume permeated the air.
…and thanks to Lorena Castellini, Il Lavendeto di Assisi, for the photos below: