Locarno, the city of flowers

This wonderful flower-laden event has its roots in the early part of the 20th century. The Festa delle Camelie (Camellia Festival) was first held in Locarno in 1923. An event held in honour of this fascinating plant that included concerts, talks and fireworks. In record years visitor numbers swelled to 25,000. In 1924, the organisers sent out a call to the locals to help accommodate the visitors. Every household was required to make at least one bed available. They could charge CHF 4 per bed per night. The event was held under the name Festa delle Camelie until 1940 (with breaks).

kamelienschau locarno

Festa delle Camelie

After a pause of 12 years, the city relaunched the event. A new name appeared in 1952: Festa dei Fiori (Flower Festival). The event lasted three days and nights and involved demonstrations of folk dancing in the traditional costumes of the neighbouring valleys, displays of 12,000-plus flowers – and visitors numbering 15,000. It all culminated in a parade on the Sunday. Large effusively decorated carts passed through the Piazza Grande and majorettes showed off their marching skills to the beat of marching music. The Flower Festival in that particular form last took place in 1984.

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