The Pugnaloni are part of the Madonna del Fiore Festival held every year on the third Sunday of the month of May in Acquapendente (province of Viterbo).
Pugnaloni and Madonna del Fiore Festival Acquapendente
History and description
The origins of this festival go all the way back to the year 1166, when Acquapendente managed to free itself from the tyrannical ruler Federico I Barbarossa.
Like many folkloric festivals, its history begins with a miraculous event. Two peasants saw that an old dried-out cherry tree, which was seen as the symbol of Barbarossa‘s domination, suddenly returned to flower. The people took this as a sign that the Madonna was protecting the city and succeeded in chasing away the tyrant and destroying his castle.
The population then decided to celebrate a festival every year in memory of the Madonna del Fiore. The theme is the liberation of the tyrant and the so-called Pugnaloni (beautiful mosaics made of flower petals) symbolize the victory of the people.
Before the Pugnaloni festival was celebrated in its present form, so-called pungoli (a kind of prods used by farmers to clean their plows) decorated with flowers were carried in a procession through the city.