Roseto Rose Garden in Rome - Explore hidden Rome and relax!

The Roseto Rose Garden Rome is a wonderful place to visit, but it is only open at specific points in the year.

bench in the rome rose gardenThe rose garden in Rome is the perfect place to sit and relax in the heart of the Eternal City

Keep reading to find out how you can see the Rome Rose Garden at it's finest!

Rose Garden Rome - Everything you need to know

Rome, Italy is famous for its stunning ancient architecture and artworks, but there is much more to discover if you know where to look.

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.

With more than a thousand rose species blooming in the late spring, and again in fall, this is a garden of wonder and amazement, and I strongly recommend making time for it in your travel plans!

yellow roses in the rose gardenBeautiful gardens filled with roses, with a backdrop of ancient Rome's Palatine hill, what could be better!

Rome's municipal rose garden opens on April 21 every year, to coincide with the celebrations for Rome's birthday, and remains open to the public until mid June.

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:

A brief history of the Rome Rose Garden

The origins of the Rose Garden

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 foundation of the current Rose Garden

The Aventine hill, opposite the Palatine hill, for many years had been the burial ground for Rome's Jewish community after they were given permission in 1645 to use a patch of land on the Aventine.

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.

full view of the rose garden The current rose garden was built after the original was destroyed, sitting on top of the Aventine Hill

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.

Links to Ancient Rome

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.

shadows on the circus maximusThe location of the rose garden is right in the heart of what was the ancient city of Rome

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.

No matter what season you visit Rome, here are 4 things never to leave at home:

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Features of the Rose Garden in Rome Italy

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.

rose bushes in the rome rose garden in full bloomWandering the paths of the gardens surrounded by the roses in bloom is a lovely experience

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.

The perfect 3-day itinerary in Rome

Trying to figure out how to organize your visit to Rome? I've got the perfect 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors (or those who have not been here in a while.) It works for a 2.5 day visit as well.

In my 3-day itinerary, you'll see all the major must-see Rome attractions like the Vatican, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps, Castel Sant'Angelo, and much more.

And if you have more time, or want suggestions for extra/other things to do, you'll find that there too.

Visit my page with the best 3-day itinerary in Rome for first-timers.

Secret spots to look for in Rome's rose garden

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:

The Jewish headstone with little stones on the top

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.

Jewish headstone with little stones on the topThe significance of the Jewish headstone with the little stones on the top is easy to miss if you don't know why it is there!

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.

The candelabra shape

Panoramic view of the Roseto ComunaleThis panoramic view of the Roseto Comunale garden shows the shape of the garden and the old cypress trees

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.

The rose heart frame

Heart of roses in rose gardenThis gorgeous heart is created each year with stunning roses - perfect for posing!

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!

Heart of roses in rose garden - Elyssa and friendHere I am with my mom in 2022 - you can't not stop and take a few pictures!

The prettiest drinking fountain in Rome

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!

Fountain in rose gardenAll of Rome's nasoni fountains are an excellent source of cold fresh drinking water year round

How to visit the Roseto Comunale Rose garden in Rome

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.

red flowers framing a view of the rome rose gardenIf you're looking for a place to escape the busy city for a little while, this is a fantastic spot!

Opening days and hours

The Rose Gardens are open from late April to mid June every year, with the specific dates announced around a month in advance.

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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