The Roseto Rose Garden Rome is a wonderful place to visit, but it is only open at specific points in the year.
Keep reading to find out how you can see the Rome Rose Garden at it's finest!
The Roseto Comunale, Rome's Rose Garden, is a site that many visitors miss out on, partly because the gardens are only open when the botanical roses are blooming.
There is often a second bloom of the rose bushes in October, when the gardens re-open for a short time.
On this page, we'll go over:
The story of Rome's Rose Garden begins in 1924.
Countess Mary Gayley Senni, an American living on an estate south of Rome, grew roses with a passion.
Having seen ornamental rose gardens in other countries, she was keen to establish one in Rome.
She decided to gift her roses to the city, and a simple flower bed was established.
This however, was not what the Countess wanted, so she abruptly took them back!
In 1932 the new Governor of Rome enthusiastically endorsed her idea and helped establish an ornamental garden on the Oppian hill overlooking the Colosseum.
That garden saw the first edition of the Premio Roma, a prestigious rose competition still run annually, but was severely damaged in World War II.
The Verano monumental cemetery in Rome was opened in the early 1800's and is now the main cemetery for Romans, but initially only Roman Catholics could be buried there.
As time went on, religious prejudices faded, and Jewish people were allowed to use the Verano cemetery, so the area on the Aventine was used less and less for new burials.
The via di Valle Murcia, the road that now runs through the gardens, was built in 1934 and with the permission of the Jewish Community, all the old graves were removed to the Verano Cemetery.
Following the damage caused to the original Rose Garden, in 1950 the current version was created, with two sections on either side of the via di Valle Murcia.
The location of the Rome Rose Garden on the Aventine hill, despite being a modern creation, has an interesting link to ancient Rome.
Flora, the Roman goddess of springtime and flowers, was commemorated in a temple that stood on the Aventine Hill, facing the Circus Maximus, the Roman chariot racing and entertainment stadium.
It is recorded that a celebration of Flora was held every spring in the Circus Maximus, a curious parallel with today's Premio Roma competition!
No trace of the temple survives, and while the the choice of the site is not believed to have been decided because of the connection with Flora, it is a fascinating coincidence.
The Rose Garden is in two sections: the larger uphill higher section and the smaller lower part across the via di Valle Murcia.
The smaller section is where the roses for the Premio Roma contest are grown, along with some of the roses that have been previous winners, and the upper section contains classic specimens of many well-known and new varieties of both modern roses and older ones.
With roses from more than twenty countries growing in the garden, it's a wonderful display of color.
The gardens are relatively small, so the roses are planted close together creating a beautiful collection of flowers.
With many examples of rare roses in the garden, the collection is as important as it is beautiful.
Many shrubs, climbing roses, traditional English roses, and more curious examples from far-flung countries across the world such as China, Japan, the USA and New Zealand, are planted here, so there are plenty of examples of roses that visitors will likely not have seen before.
Certainly you can just walk around the gardens and enjoy the flowers.
The varieties of scents and colors is intoxicating and makes for a relaxing way to spend an hour or so, taking a respite from busy Rome.
Over the years, I have collected a few interesting things you can spot - a sort of scavenger hunt if you will.
Keep an eye out for these hidden little treasures among the blooms:
Close to the garden entrances is a headstone with an inscription on it.
This is a typical Jewish stele, and the inscription is written on a stone shaped to represent the Tables of the Law, the Jewish religion's version of the Ten Commandments.
It was placed here when the garden was created in memory of the previous usage of the park.
It's common to see small stones resting on the top of the headstone, left there by other visitors.
While many religions and cultures traditionally leave flowers on graves, it is a Jewish custom to place stones instead, because in Jewish folklore, the soul remains in the grave.
The stones are symbolically placed to keep the soul where it rightly belongs, as well as being a lasting memory of the deceased.
Walk to the uphill area of the garden and look down onto the lower section.
You will see that the paths form a defined pattern, each reaching out to the side in a constant upward curve.
The paths represent the Menorah, the seven-branched candelabra representing the Jewish people and Judaism.
Hebrew scripts say the Menorah was used in the Temple in Jerusalem and the Tabernacle.
This design of the paths is deliberate and was chosen by the designers of the Rose Garden to pay thanks and respect to the Jewish community who agreed to the garden being built on the site of the old Jewish cemetery, a sacred site.
The tall cypress trees dotted around also date from the days of the old cemetery.
This frame made of pretty pink flowers is very popular with visitors, located in the upper section of the garden, you can take some very special pictures in this spot!
While you will find plenty of nasoni drinking fountains around Rome, I think this one is the most beautiful.
It retains the original wolf-head (lupa), and the backdrop colors are simply breathtaking.
Add what look like angel wings on either side, and you have a picture-perfect drinking fountain!
If you want to see the gardens when in the Eternal City, it is easy to reach them.
The simplest route is to use the Metro B line and get off at the Circo Massimo stop, the garden entrance is located about a 5 minute walk up the road.
You can also take one of the many buses that stop nearby, there is a bus stop conveniently located right next to the gardens.
While you can freely wander and enjoy the plants, for a more in-depth experience you can arrange to join a guided tour with the Rome Comune.
Note that there are no set times, but if you contact them in advance to arrange for a guide to be present, you will find they are more than happy to accommodate you.
In 2023, the Rose Garden is open from April 21 to June 11, but the competition area is out of bounds until May 21 after the roses have been judged.
The Rome Rose Garden is open every day during these dates, from 8:30am-7:30pm and it is completely free to enter!
In recent years it has also been possible to go inside the gardens for a few weeks in October.
They announce the exact dates closer to October, but you can usually count on them being open from around the end of the first week for about 2 weeks.
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