Festoon The English word for the Italian term festone and the French feston, to signify the architectural representation of flowers, foliage and fruit as ornamentation in architecture. These are often to be seen as curved and suspended ribbons on facades in neo-classical and art nouveau architecture. Ancient Greeks and Romans were fond of the stuff, because it signalled abundance. It goes some way to explain why it formed the principal decoration of altars and panel friezes. For the very reason that it was characteristic of antiquity, history painting has later chosen to depict festoons almost like a time machine to instantly transport the viewer to a bygone era.