The countdown has started for a romantic “meet” that will embrace all your senses, but most of all smell and sight.
Just few days ago we entered in the flowering season of plants, trees, of the vast green fields that surround and embrace Rome, as well as other cities. But it is also the blossom of the senses of love and soul. During this season, the Spring, in a sense we are reborn. Our faces light up after the grayness of winter and all the cities of the world are colored with thousands of shades.
It is the best time to travel, it is neither too hot nor too cold, and visit a city like Rome becomes an even more magical experience.
Just across from the famous Circus Maximus, it stands a colorful and enchanted garden, suitable to awaken our minds and our senses, a place that offers us one of the most extraordinary natural wonders yet ephemeral.
We are talking of the Rome Municipal Rose Garden, once a temple of the Roman goddess of spring, the goddess Flora. It stood on the Aventine Hill, opposite the Circus Maximus, as the latter was the place from April 28 until the first days of May were held every year the celebrations dedicated to the goddess, originally called Floralia, then Ludi Florales. Today this magical rose garden has become the site of a prestigious international contest called Premio Roma.
But history also tells us that before being a rose garden, this plot of land was the old Jewish cemetery, to be precise it was called “the Ortaccio of the Jews” because of religious discrimination promoted by the Papal era.
But how did this wonderful place dedicated to the worship and the flowering of roses was born?
The rose garden is connected to a female name: Mary Gayley Senni. Probably Rome would never have had its own municipal rose garden, had it not been for an enterprising Countess of Pennsylvania, in love and passionate about roses. She cultivated an entire collection in a fund owned by her in Grottaferrata (just south of the city). Wanting to build a rose garden like those that existed in other countries, in 1924 donated her plants to the City; but then, not satisfied with their resettlement in a simple flower bed on the Pincio hill, in a short time she got them back. She had better fortune eight years later, when a new governor greeted her project. The first municipal rose garden was opened in 1932 in Colle Oppio, one of the three peaks of the Esquiline Hill near the Colosseum. The following year she held the first edition of the Premio Roma. The same Countess became a member of the jury.
As you enter the rose garden, you will be surrounded and pampered by a heady fragrance and your eyes will be colored of a thousand shades.
It is an extraordinary collection consisting of a thousand roses from around the world. A part from the collection of the rose garden, while others are new varieties that annually take part in the competition, and the winners of awards in previous editions. You can admire a number of rare roses, whose unusual virtues certainly catch your eye. And please don’t miss during your walk the first rose, winner of the award in 1933, the Spanish Condesa de Sastago.
The whole collection is planted firmly in the wider section. The whole world is represented with its own variety of rose. In addition to Italy, the countries from which the largest number of examples are France, Germany, Belgium, England and Denmark, but there are also from the Netherlands, Spain, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland , Switzerland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania. Other continents are represented mainly by the United States, followed by New Zealand, but some roses are also from the Middle East, Canada, South Africa, India, China and Japan. There are classic varieties, as well as modern ones, and a good number of hybrids. To an ordinary visitor, some of these flowers do not even seem to “roses”!
Another feature that you should not miss and that will make it even more enjoyable your walk within this precious garden, are the names of the roses. It is curious that to inspire a good number have been famous people of the arts, as novelists (Victor Hugo, Karen Blixen), poets (Jacques Prévert, Federico Garcia Lorca), composers (Paganini), painters (Botticelli, Rembrandt), and even movie actors (Philippe Noiret, Ornella Muti). Others refer to the qualities of the flower (Lithe, Fragrant Love). Some names are inspired by the color, many others are pure fantasy.
Do not miss this wonderful opportunity to see Rome in bloom. We can organize a private tour only for you.
During the next days we will talk about another special place that you cannot miss during your stay in Rome.
Stay tuned !!