The municipal rose garden of Rome is located on the Aventine Hill, just across the street from the Circus Maximus. It’s open every year from early May till mid-June and because that’s such a tiny window, I always forget about it until it’s too late. On Friday, however, I was in a meeting nearby and nipped over to see the garden afterwards.
There are two separate sections of garden stretching over a hectare and separated by the via di Valle Murcia down the centre. The spot has done time as the site of the temple to Flora, the Roman goddesss of flowers (a coincidence, I am told), the cemetery for Rome’s Jewish community (from 1645-1895, after which the city consented to let them bury their dead in the main Verano cemetery), grazing lands, an orchard (during WW2), and from 1950 on, Rome’s rose garden. There are more than 1 200 different varieties of roses here from all over the world.
The upper part of the garden hosts the permanent collection and the lower part features the floral contestants in Premio Roma, an annual competition among international floriculturists. This year, the contest involved 81 new varieties presented by 21
rose nerds floriculturists from 10 countries. No Americans sadly. However, it should be stated that the rose garden got its start from the collection of Countess Mary Gayley Senni (described as an enterprising lady from Pennsylvania), who donated her roses to the city in 1924. Shout out to my home state!
Not much else to say since I know zero about roses. I’ll let the pretty pictures speak for themselves.