All was not rosy in San Remo

Industry veteran Charles Lansdorp provides his thoughts on this year’s Festival di Sanremo – not so much for the music but what happened to the floral decoration.  Landsrop is a former Area Manager for the Flower Council of Holland. He now lives and works in Italy and is an ambassador and advocate of the global flower industry.

Charles Landrop

“The singer Blanco, born Riccardo Fabbriconi, ignited fury among an Italian television audience recently watching the iconic San Remo Festival.

During his performance of L’Isola Delle Rose (The Island of Roses) on the opening evening of the festival’s 73rd edition. The bombshell moment happened when the 20-year-old singer from Brescia kicked over the red roses that decked out the stage of the Teatro Ariston – home to the music festival since 1977. Shortly after the incident, he apologised to the 13 million viewers, explaining that he could not hear himself due to audio problems and, in frustration, had destroyed the floral installation. View on YouTube here.

You can shrug your shoulders, but the Festival plays a significant role in Italian society and culture. The Festival di San Remo (the forerunner of the Eurovision Song contest) and Italian floriculture are intrinsically linked. San Remo is known as The City of Flowers, and back in 1951, a score of flower professionals co-founded the event. True to many years of tradition, the Bouquet di San Remo competition is held during the festival run-up. Nearly every Italian floral designer dreams about winning it and being granted official permission to design the contest’s bouquets.

San Remo’s ‘floral flurry’ reminded me of the disrespectful way Dutch TV host Arjan Lubach blamed the country’s entire ornamental horticulture industry for growing cut flowers laden with pesticides at the huge expense of energy and carbon dioxide emissions. It was just another sign that our industry needs to stay connected with the younger generations.

Grand Parent’s day, in Italian, aka la Festa dei Nonni, was adopted by the Italian government in 2005. Since then, an annual public holiday on 2 October aims to enhance communication between young and old, and the symbol of love is the giving of flowers or plants to the elderly by youngsters. From its beginning, the Felini Foundation has played a pivotal role in developing Grandparent’s Day. However, with Grandparent’s Day rolling out across Europe, we changed its name to the Grandparent’s Day Foundation. The name change allows us to connect better with the young and help them reach out to older, lonely and isolated adults through flowers. Last year, for example, the Grandparent’s Day Foundation and child care organisation Partou hosted more than 100 flower arranging events across the Netherlands with children and elderly working together on floral compositions.”

This opinion was first published in the March 2023 edition of FloraCulture International.

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