Rome Rose Garden (Roseto Comunale): all you need to know about one of Romes’s prettiest gardens

by marta

All you need to know about Roseto Comunale, Rome’s beautiful rose garden. How to visit, why it is significant, its history. 

Roseto Comunale, Rome’s Rose Garden, is one of the prettiest gardens in Rome and one of the city’s most scenic corners.

Located on the slopes of the Aventine Hill, one of the historical seven hills of Rome, the gardens host over one thousand varieties of roses and overlooks the Circus Maximus and the Palatine Hill, with the splendid ancient palace of Emperors.

The garden is a treat for flower enthusiasts and botanists. However, due to its scenic location, it is also a fantastic place to visit if you wan to catch beautiful views over Rome.

The rose garden is only open in flower season and this means that, while not unknown to tourists, it doesn’t usually feature on tourist itienraries and feels like a Rome hidden gem.

I love Roseto Comunale: in this guide, I share all you need to know to plan a visit to Rome’s Rose Garden and some info about what to see, special roses and brief elements of the garden’s history.

Rome Rose Garden views with organ rose in the foreground

Rome’s Rose Garden: opening hours and address

Name: Roseto Comunale | Rome Rose Garden

Access: Free

Address: Via di Valle Murcia, 6, 00153 Roma RM (Aventine Hill)

Opening Hours: From 22 May to 12 June 2022, 8.30 alle ore 19.30

Good to know! Traditionally, Rome’s Roseto Comunale also opened its doors in October. Dates for 2022 have not yet been released; however, the fall opening of the Garden is traditional and tends to happen during the autumnal flowering season in the two central weeks of October. So, if you are in Rome in October, it is worth keeping an eye for this special opening!

A brief history of Rome Rose garden

Rome’s rose garden develops on the northern slopes of the Aventine Hill, one of the historical seven hills of Rome.

Because of this incredible vantage point, the Rose Garden is one of the best places to catch breathtaking views over Rome: the Circus Maximus, the Palatine, Santa Maria in Comedian, the Synagogue, the Vittoriano are all visible form here! 

Ancient sources tell us that this area was already devoted to flowers and nature in ancient Roman times.

In the Annales, Tacitus says that celebrations to the Flower Goddess Flora, the Floralia, took place in the Circus Maximus.

Later sources tell us the area was covered in orchards and vines until the XVI century.

In 1645, the Garden became the location of a small cemetery for the local Jewish community and gained the name ‘Ortaccio Degli Ebrei‘, which remained in use until 1934.

That year, the Jewish cemetery moved into the monumental and large Verano Cemetery, now one of the main cemeteries in Rome, and the Garden became a public park.

In 1950, the city designated this area to become a new rose garden, to replace an old one on the Oppian Hill, created in 1932 by the wish of Countess Mary Gailey Senni, but then destroyed during the war.

To keep memory of the place’s history and pay homage to the significance of the Jewish community in Rome, the new Rose Garden has commemorative plaques and its pathways are also designed in the shape of a menorah, well visible from the Palatine especially. 

What to see in Rome’s Rose Garden

The main reasons to visit Rome’s Rose garden are the roses and the views.

The Views of the Palace of Emperors

Regarding views, I will leave the photo below to speak for itself: as you stand in Roseto Comunale, you have the Circus Maximus in front of you against the backdrop of the Palace of Emperors on the Palatine Hill.

Around it, you have Rome’s sky dotted with the city’s beautiful domes and the winged Victories at the top of Vittoriano, to enhance the already breathtaking view.

View of ancient Roman ruins on the Palatine hill from the Rose Garden in Rome with benches in the foreground

The upper part of the Garden

Rome’s Rose garden develops on the slopes of the Aventine hill and has an upper and a lower part that follow the shape of this hilly landscape. 

The upper part of the Garden is the largest: it is on the steeper part of the slope and hosts the collection of ancient and modern botanical roses. 

In this part of the Garden there are lovely walkaways and a pretty installation in the shape of a heart that makes for good photos. 

Some of the most peculiar roses in this part of the Garden are:

  • Damascene Roses, already in existence in ancient times and popular in Pompeii and Paestum; 
  • Gallic Roses, including one with white and red flowers, dedicated to the War of the Two Roses;
  •  Peace Rose, which graced the tables around which the end of WWII was agreed. 
  • Rosa Mutabilis, which changes its colors throughout its lifetime;
  • Omeiensis Pteracantha Lutea and its distinctive red, transparent thorns;
  • Rosa Chinensis Virdiflora with its green petals
  • Rosa Foetida, a stunning yet stinking rose!

The lower part of the Garden

The Garden of Roses’s lower part is a little less steep and hosts the roses connected to the so-called ‘Premio Rome’, a botanical prize with a historian dating back to 1933.

The Roses of Rome’s Rose Garden 

The stars of the show in Rome’s Rose Gardens are the roses. 

Overall, the Garden has over 1,100 species of roses from around the world. The roses belong in different categories. 

Rose Botaniche – Botanical Roses

Botanical roses also called Specie (species) or Selvatiche (wild) are spontaneous roses from the northern hemisphere.

Botanists have identified over 150 species of them and have traced some of them all the way back to over 40 million years ago, thanks to fossils found in Oregon, USA.

Some of these roses are the ancestors of roses we have now.

Scientists classified them in several genus: Hultelmia (Simplicifoliae)HesperhodosPlatyrhodon and Rosa. Rosa then further classifies in sub-genus:Chinensis (Indicae), Banksianae, Levigatae, Bracteatae, Pimpinellifoliae, Synstylae, Cinnamomeae (Cassiorhodon), Carolinae, Gallicanae, Caninae, Villosae, Rubiginosae.

Rose antiche – Ancient Roses

Ancient Roses are classified based on their geographical origin. 

In most cases, they are hybrids resulting from spontaneous or man made encounters of roses from different parts of the world, carried back by travelers and botanists. 

Among the most significant there are: Galliche, Alba, Damascene, Centifolie, Muscose, Eglanteria, Moschate, Borboniane, Rugose, Spinosissime, Chinenses, Ibridi Perenni.

Rose moderne – Modern Roses

Modern roses are all those roses came into existence from the end of the Nineteenth Century, when the practice of creating hybrids between roses from different part of the world became common. 

The first rose of this type is Rosa Thea, a mix between R. Gigantea e la R. Chinensis: its name comes from the fact that it came to Europe from China, on ships full of tea going back to England. 

Rosa Thea then was at the basis of even more hybrids, now known as Thea’s Hybrids (ibridi di Thea, or HT), characterised by a longer flower and more than one flowering season. 

Other types of modern roses are:

Floribunda – a type of rose with Chinese origins, born from the encounter of Thea’d Hybrids and Polyantha Rose, a hybrid between R. Multiflora and R. Chinensis Minima.

These roses have several flowering seasons and are characterised by growing in small bundles, a characteristic that makes them suitable especially for decorative hedges and to add color.

Altre sottoclassi appartenenti al vasto gruppo delle rose moderne sono le seguenti:

Rose Inglesi – English Roses – created by David Austin from the 1960s, these roses have soft colors, strong perfume and recurrent flowering. 

Rose Ricadenti or Coprisuolo – rose bushes that grow along walls, almost like climbers 

Rose Miniatura – Miniature Rose – also called Lilliput Roses, are small roses popular born from the Roulette rose, a variant of R Chinensis Minima, discovered in 1918 by M. Router in Switzerland and first catalogued but Henri Correvon in 1922.

Rose Patio – an intermediate class between miniature and floribunda, these are popular garden roses popular as suitable both for vase and hedge growing. 

Visiting Rome’s Rose Garden with kids

Rome’s Rose Garden is a lovely place to visit with kids.

The garden has a botanical vocation and it is therefore not a place with play areas playgrounds or spaces for kids to play or pick flowers.

However, since the car is car free and pretty, it is a great place for kids to spend time outdoors and its slopes make it a fun place to explore safely.

We visited when our kids were 9 and 11 and it was a great age: they enjoyed the flowers, had a giggle at the stinking rose and enjoyed taking photos and posing at the heart shaped frame at the top of the garden, which works as a nice photo prop.

Younger kids are likely to enjoy seeing the flowers and toddlers will be able to safely run around. The garden is stroller accessible although it is on a slope and, therefore, tiring if pushing a heavy buggy uphill.

Find here >>> our selection of the best things to do in Rome with kids

What to wear to visit Rome’s Rose Garden

Rome’s Garden of Roses has well kept pathways and there is not need for special footwear to visit.

Due to its location on the Aventine HIll However, we recommend you combine a vii there with a walk up to the Garden of oranges and a visit to Circus Maximus, where comfortable shoes are advisable.

You can find here >>> my tips for picking the best shoes for Rome Travel

Rome’s Rose Garden: pin this!

Image of Roseto comunale in Rome with text: Rome's Rose Garden visitors guide

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