Rome’s beautiful rose garden is a bellissima multi coloured breath of mother nature, minutes from the ancient ruins of Circus Maximus, on Via di Valle Murcia.
Established in 1931, this gem is open to the public. Over 1100 varieties of roses are grown there, many of them gifts from countries around the world. It covers 10,000 m square and each section has rose varieties characteristic of, or grown in, the respective variety. The park also has an experimental section where new varieties of roses are tested for their suitability for public and private gardens in Italy.
Walking around the Roses
The rose garden is split into two sections: the upper one shows the permanent collection of varieties of roses, grouped on a chronological basis.
The lower section of the garden houses the varieties taking part in Premio Roma, an annual contest among international floriculturists.
Roses and Roman temples of worship
The garden is situated on the same site as the old Roman temple of worship, dedicated to Flora, the goddess of flowers. Although, it is merely a coincidence, we find it interesting that the Roman celebrations of Flora, the Floralia, were held around the same time, from late April, til May, way back when, in 241 BC.
Whilst many of the roses are dedicated to famous historical figures, the design of the garden itself is in the shape of a menorah, honouring the plots location, which is where Rome’s Jewish cemetery was before, with the approval of the Jewish community, being transformed into this breathtaking garden.
Below are some of Minerva Tours Rome’s favourite highlights, on of which is a mini small section of the garden, reserved for the roses of the Ancient World.
Roses of the Ancient World: Gallica, Alba, Damascena (Gallica means from France, Alba is the Latin adjective for white, and Damascena means from Damascus).
The Romans found that their fragrance had inebriating properties. At the end of a lavish banquet, when the guests were already excited by the effects of food and wine, the perfect host arranged for cascades of rose petals to fall from the ceiling.
In the early XIXth century breeding of new varieties of roses led to crossings between Asian and Western roses; in some cases this caused unexpected consequences. Rosa Bracteata was introduced in Europe by George McCartney, British Ambassador to China in 1793; this species was introduced into some of the southern United States where it has become invasive by forming dense thickets and dominates habitats resulting in the reduction of foraging capacity for wildlife.
Flowers named after British Royalty are:
Princess Margaret & Lady Diana
There are even some roses with a literary inspiration:
Porthos, Pinocchio, Balzac and Albertine
When and where
Via di Valle Murcia
May – late June, during which visitors can admire the roses from 8.00am – 7.30pm