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Rome Reports

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Meet the Spanish workshop that makes the Holy Week palms for Pope Francis

Without palms like these, Palm Sunday would not be the same. What few know is where they are made, especially the ones used for the procession in St. Peter's Square. In the Serrano Valero family workshop, more than five generations have been dedicated to the work of the white palm. A tradition dating back to 1371. PAQUI SERRANO "I dedicate myself to this office where I learned since I was a little girl playing here in the workshop, this is the basement of my parents' house. You can learn the trade by playing and then you start to love it. For 20 years I have dedicated myself to it." Her small workshop is located in Elche, a town in the south of Spain, known for being the city with more palm trees per inhabitant of Spain. The World Heritage Site is recognized by its Palm Grove and by its sacred representation of "The Mystery," a religious demonstration in their cathedral. The work and elaboration of the white palm requires an astute amount of patience, accuracy and above all time. PAQUI SERRANO "I dedicate more hours to this than the day even has. There is a lot of work and everything is manual, everything is artwork and then we have to work many hours. We start working on the palms depending on when Easter begins, between November and January, and we finish working the night before Palm Sunday." It is a family job where all the components must collaborate so that it can get keep moving forward. Elche is the only place in the world where this particular artistic elaboration of the white palm continues. They are works of art not only sent to popes but also, for decades, to the Spanish Royal Family. AQ/MB RR - Up: