Updated: Oct 11, 2018
by Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
'Firenze' means the "city of flowers," and it was founded in springtime. It is for this reason that the coat of arms of Florence is represented by a glorious scarlet lily.
Botanically, it is the representation of the Florentine variety of the Iris Germanicus, a spontaneous perennial iridacea, common in the area in violet and white colors and also called in Florentine slang, giaggiolo. The most accredited theory around the heraldic emblem dates back to the foundation by the Romans of the city, in the spring of 59 BC, and would also explain the etymology of the ancient 'Florentia' name of 'Firenze.'
The legend is linked to the spring celebration of the Floralia, wild orgiastic pastoral theme games in honor of the goddess Flora. These Ludi Florales were also characterized by theatrical performances, where women were dressed in bright colors while the men decorated the garment with garlands of newly bloomed flowers. The actresses of the mime representations used to undress their colored peplums at the request of the spectators, implementing an early kind of striptease called the nudatio mimarum, licentious shows that emphasized the metaphysical link between human sexuality and plant fertility, by which stimulating one through the sacred ritual, it would be stimulated also for the other.
But the flower, in addition to celebrating the rebirth of the spring, was also linked to the meaning represented from the archetype of the purity of the lily, which is said to be born from a drop of milk poured from the breast of the goddess Juno while she was feeding Hercules.
During the month of May, in which the spectacular bloom of the iris takes place, there is the International Competition of Iris. Each year in the Piazzale Michelangelo, in a fragrant and colorful garden dedicated to this delicate flower, florists of various nationalities show off new, spectacular flowers born by hybridization and polyploidisms.
Iris was the messenger of the gods, which is also the personification of the rainbow. The Garden of Iris really looks like a magnificent spring rainbow. I simply love it!
Linguine al Limone (Linguine with Lemon Sauce)
This pasta is very delicate, full of the freshness and the marvelous scent of the Sorrento lemons. It's also very cheap and chic. I usually cook this linguine as a ‘primo piatto’ before a fish ‘secondo piatto.’ To add even more scent, place a little grated lemon rind on top of every dish. Serve with a fruity white wine.
1 pound linguine
Salt and black pepper
1 cup cream 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons butter
While pasta cooks according to package directions, heat cream and butter in a saucepan. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from flame. Add lemon juice and parsley. Combine sauce and pasta. Mix well. Serve immediately. Serves 4