Like I mentioned before, I spent all of my time in Spello (which, unfortunately, wasn’t much) simply walking around, taking in the gray and pink brick, the beautiful staircases and, to my surprise, the even more beautiful balconies.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of balconies and deck. In the midwest it’s about grilling on the deck with friends and a cold beer (at least, it was for me) and here in Italy there’s not a warm evening that passes that we don’t eat outside on our balcony, enjoying the extra square footage and the outdoors. The decorations of balconies can make or break an apartment complex and even change a city, like with the ever-present flowers that overflow from wooden railings in Trentino. And in Spello, they take their balconies seriously.
So seriously, in fact, that there’s even an international competition! Last year Spello competed against famous European cities to represent Italy in the Entente Florale Competition. The winning city would be declared the “Model European city for environmental and landscape development and careful preservation of social relations, art and traditions.” The aim of the competition is, according to Spello’s website, “to spread a “Landscape Economy”, an added, innovative value of the Green Economy.”
Spello won the honor to represent Italy after winning first prize in the 2012 Italian Comuni Fioriti Competition (flower-decked cities) based on floral and landscape quality, in which 145 cities participated. It was the first Umbrian town to ever win!
It might seem silly to you, but if you ever go to Trentino you’ll understand how beautiful their balconies are, and how beautiful it makes the town. Even competing against such balconies, Spello came out on top – and the town is all the more beautiful because of it.