Cart and I were at the Rose Garden in Circo Massimo last weekend. It has been slightly over a year since we’ve last been there, so we thought that we’d pay a visit before it closes its entry in mid June.
The rose garden, or the Roseto Comunale in Italian, is a municipal rose garden here in Rome which is open to all from the 10th of May to the 10th of June. There are a huge variety of roses here and personally for me, is a lovely place to visit if you are in Rome during these times. The temperature is comfortable and being spring time, flowers are blossoming.
The Roseto Comunale is probably not a very touristy destination, but like Parco Laghetto, it’s another side of Rome which I find very charming.
Unfortunately, we’ve been having a rather bad weather for the past few weeks with it raining incessantly. And I think that it affected how the roses looked. For lack of a better word, they didn’t look so “fresh”. Nevertheless, it was very picturesque here with the huge variety of roses of different colours and kinds and with the iconic Vittorio Emanuele Monument and some Roman ruins in the background.
One of the easiest way to get here is by taking the subway and exiting the “Circo Massimo” stop. One of the first thing you should see, is this large FAO building. Follow the road, have a slow stroll and before you know it, you’re already at the Rose garden.
There were a healthy amount of people already there when Cart and I arrived. I spotted out families, groups of kids, even monks, priests and nuns.
All of them looking around excitedly, smelling, touching each rose. Many of them camwhoring with the roses. There was a couple who snapped pictures of themselves before we arrived there, and they were still camwhoring when Cart and I left the place. There were even people picnicking and making out. Which is understandable, since it *was* a romantic looking place.
There were so many kinds of roses here, it was quite mind boggling! The area is divided into several segments, one part where there are the original roses as well as the modern cultivated ones.
There were signs every few steps or so where we could read up more information about the roses. And there were a lot of things which I didn’t realise till now.
Like, did you know that there is no such thing as blue roses? Even with modern cultivation, roses do not have the right cells to carry the colour. The closest colours that it could carry are lilac and purple. So even if you do see a blue rose, it was probably dyed.
And it was interesting for me to read that in ancient roman times, the emperor would have frequent orgies where one of the highlights were a false ceiling would open to drop down rose petals. And there was once, a drunk guest who got trapped and suffocated under the rose petals.
Did you know that it takes 900 kg of rose petals to make about 5 grams of attar of rose? That was one of the reasons why ancient romans decided to cultivate their own roses rather than importing it from Africa since it was such a lucrative business.
To me, what was interesting was that there were a lot of roses which didn’t look like how a “typical” rose was supposed to look like – multiple layers petals, starting from a long bud. Like this flower below.
So I was quite surprised to see these flowers below categorized as roses too. They don’t look like roses since they had only one layer of petals. But Cart pointed out that they had thorns which was a strong sign that they were.
The name of this rose below is “Queen Mother” by the way, and I like the shade of pink. It doesn’t look very rose-like but the shape of the leaves and the thorns are a dead give away!
And speaking of names, there were loads of interesting named roses, like ‘Aspirin’ (!) ‘Aladdin’, ‘Purple Rain’, ‘Isn’t she lovely’ and others you could check out from the video at the end of this post. I really wonder how they named their roses. some of them are really curious.
Here is a video I took while in the rose garden. Check out the crazy names that the roses have! And please excuse my ramblings.
So if you’re in Rome during springtime, don’t forget to visit the lovely and charming rose garden near Circo Massimo and get lost in all it’s beauty.
Just in case you were wondering, my favourite flowers are yellow roses 🙂
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Sidenote : Sha’s post totally reminds me back of my days in IRC. I used to spend hours in them and my nick used to be |rose| and then spyrulina. A little corny huh?