Floralia is like traveling in time, 2000 years back in history, with out leaving Extremadura and with out leaving the XXI Century. To visit Floralia will give you a taste of being a Roman Citizen, during the Spring Festival, which was held in honor of the goddess Flora. If you let the ambience take over, the least you will feel is that you are in the middle of a set or maybe in the filming of Ben-Hur, without leaving Cáparra. Which is in the district of the Tierras de Granadilla, located in the northern part of Extremadura. The old Roman city, that is a must for every tourist interested in culture and history because of its famous square shaped arch. Which is a unique construction in Spain. The famous Roman Way, Via de la Plata , passes under this square arch. It dates back to the same time as the Segovia Aqueduct and the bridge of Alcántara. The Arch of Cáparra still stands out over the ruins of the old city, when in May they come back to life, generally in the middle or the last week end of this month, to commemorate the Festival that the Romans would dedicate to Spring, Floralia.
Flora, the goddess of the flowers and the gardens, in the Roman mythology, but also, she is the goddess of fertility, the Romans invoked her to welcome a new season, Spring; today, she is being invoked by the neighbors of the Tierras de Granadilla. There, just off the road to Zarza, we can see the location where the ending of a Pedro Almodovar film called Átame was produced. Where, to the music of the Duo Dinámico and a song called Sobrevivré (I Will Survive), we can see a memorable scene of the Spanish cinema. And also, there in the middle of the extremeño meadow, at the Gabriel and Galan Reservoir, is a good place to extend your visit to Floralia, by enjoying the many opportunities of relaxation and good accommodations.
The Visitor Can Dress as a Roman Citizen during Floralia
Unforgettable feeling is to be a member of the Rome Empire. To be involved in a parade of centurions, or gladiator fights, or strolls in roman carriage, or theater at the forum, or in the market where you can buy a souvenir of Floralia. Every thing is carefully planned to comply with the Roman style. The visitor can be inspired to dress up in roman attire, there are many items being, locally manufactured and sold at the market. There are activities planned for children. They can play a game of Tabula, which is the typical roman table game or participate in a workshop to learn how to make flower wreaths, which can be worn on their heads. Also, workshops for children, to learn roman style mosaics on their own drawings. The organizers think of everything, lead by the “Asociación para el Desarrollo de la Comarca de Tierras de Granadilla”, Ceder Cáparra, which is located in Guijo de Granadilla, offer the possibility of renting an attire at the market or they have instructions on their web site to learn to manufacture your own costume. The important thing is to be characterized as roman, and make this festivity a singular event at the foot of the Cáparra Arch, where all the visitors end up making a selfie.
Visitors can drive their car to the usual parking lots, where buses are provided to the place of the festival. There you will enjoy a true voyage in time, including a very special history class through a fashion show, the Cáparra Fashion Week, where you will learn how Romans dressed, depending on their social class.
Cáparra, Cultural Tourism at the Via de la Plata (The Silver Way)
This is an event, which has been celebrated for six years, with the help of many extras, who are residents of this district. Also, amateur theater groups that surprise visitors in the midst of the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter or the Amphitheater. They can be visited, by guided tours organized through the Center of Historical Interpretation. The objective is to learn more about the historical importance of this place. Cáparra was first talked about in Ptolemy ´s writings. In fact, this was the second most important city in the Roman Hispania, following in importance to Emerita Augusta, today Merida, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. This is a heritage that the residents of the “Tierras de Granadilla” continue to fill with life every spring through Floralia. However, the place is interesting to visit during all seasons of the year. In fact, it is walked by hundreds of Pilgrims that cross the Via de la Plata (the Silver Way) every year.
Date: A weekend in the second half of the month of May, to be determined every year. In 2015, Floralia will be celebrated on may 16.
Place: Cáparra, which is about 25 km from Plasencia and 95 km from Cáceres, which is the capitol city of the province. Follow route A66 (Autovía de la Plata) Exit on 455 to Guijo de Granadilla from the north or 463 to Oliva de Plasencia from the south.
Original article by Merche R. Rey
Translated by Susana Windt
Photografies by Ceder Cáparra y Aturtigra