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The meaning of some flowers in Italy

Flowers are often appreciated in several parts of the world and so are in Italy. Given on birthday, anniversaries, special events, graduations, births or simply on a romantic dinner, there are some suitable for each occasion!

However, the message flowers symbolically send may differ from one culture to another so much that, sometimes, misunderstandings can arise.

Whether you have to buy a present or for mere curiosity, here is a list of some of the most famous flowers in Italy and their meaning.


Italian flowers: la rosa

“Rosa” is a term used in Italian both for the color pink and for the rose flower. Roses are often given as a present and in a number of occasions; however, their meanings change depending on their color. In Italy red roses are the symbol of passion and love, white represent pureness while yellow roses are the symbol of jealousyBlue roses have also become extremely popular in recent years: they represent mystery, but they are often given to men due to their more masculine hue.

No matter the occasion, roses are among the frequently bought flowers. According to Italian tradition, and following the precepts of superstition, roses are never given in even number because this is associated to mourning, despite some exceptions like twelve meaning marriage or the wish to stay with a person for the rest of one’s life.

Romantic dinners are always a good pretext to give your beloved red roses and make an impression, especially during the first rendez-vous.


Italian Flowers: Red Roses symbolize love and passion
Ph. depositphotos/Nikonite

Italian flowers: i Crisantemi

Although the chrysanthemum flower symbolizes joy and prosperity in almost every part of the world, it is not like this in Italy: never give this flower unless it is for sad events or funerals. Crisantemi are linked to the 2nd of November, which is All Souls day, so they represent sadness and sorrow as they blossom in this month.


Italian Flowers: the crisantemi are brought to our loved ones’ graves
Ph. depositphotos/100ker

Italian flowers: Orchidea

Orchids are associated to love in Western culture, and they are able to grow everywhere in the world, except Antarctica. Orchids come in different colors, each of them appropriate for a certain occasion. White orchids are often associated to pureness and they are frequently chosen for wedding decorations, while rose orchids, being the symbol of love and affection, are often given in occasion of the 14th wedding anniversary, while cream orchids for the 28th.


An orchid
Ph. flickr/Luca Montanari

Italian flowers: Girasoli

Who has never seen girasoli, sunflowers, in the photos of Tuscany? This region is famous for growing this flower, which means happiness and cheerfulness. They are often given to friends who have achieved an important goal in their life such as graduation or any case in which a successful event must be celebrated.


Sunflowers, Girasoli, in Castiglioncello, Tuscany
Ph. flickr/Borghy 52


Italian flowers: Peonia

Also known as “rose without thorns”, peonie, peonies, are the symbol of discretion, but also a traditional flower to be given to your love. They are considered a delicate and romantic flower and for this reason they are often chosen for wedding decorations.


A Peonia
Ph. flickr/Maurizio

Italian flowers: Mimosa

Since the ’50s, the mimosa is a flower offered to women in occasion of the International Women’s Day, on March 8th. This same custom exists in Russia, Albania and Georgia. Small bunches of mimosa or full trees are given on this day in Italy.


Ph. flickr/hexion

Flowers for Valentine’s day in Italy

Valentine’s day is considered the day of people in love so there is no better occasion than this to give your beloved some flowers. Red roses are some of the most requested flowers in this period but there are other options you can take into account. Some flowers, though, should be avoided at all costs!

Hydrangea (ortensia) and lavender (lavanda) should be avoided being respectively the symbol of coldness and diffidence. Cyclamen, ciclamino, should be avoided, as it is said to negatively influence love stories; yellow roses, symbol of jealousy, could be interpreted as a declaration of unfaithfulness as well, so it is better to avoid them altogether.


Many other species and varieties are bought. No matter the type or event, it is always a pleasure to receive un mazzo di fiori, a bunch of flowers, but the right one. If in doubt, you can always ask the florist for some tips or simply find out what flowers the recipient likes and go for those. And if you really want to impress a loved one that lives on the other side of the planet, you can use Interflora, a system that connects florists all over the world and guarantees fresh deliveries all year round.


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