Rome’s Roseto Comunale is a showcase rose garden, open to the public, free, for a couple of months a year.
Occupying a prime spot on the Aventino (Aventine Hill), the Roseto was the site of Rome’s Jewish cemetery for centuries, before being presented to the city in the twentieth century. The garden layout pays tribute to the site’s history, with paths forming symbols including the Menorah. A visit to the garden can be combined with an exploration of the Aventine and its panoramic park.
As well as an extensive permanent collection of roses, occupying the higher slopes and climbing up over walkways, the garden also displays competition entries and new breeds. The range is huge, and you can spend hours wandering, photographing and choosing your favourites: from the huge colourful extravagances of roses like Rinascimento to the sweeter pale specimens hiding shyly behind their bolder cousins. The scents and colours create a memorable experience, especially when combined with the backdrop of the Palatine ruins and the open space of the Circo Massimo.
Visitors queue up for a photo opportunity by a heart-shaped trellis covered with pink roses or wander around the pathways. There are benches to sit on, and it is generally a lovely place to spend some time. Unlike many of Rome’s attractions, the Roseto is fully accessible to all visitors, and it is very popular with Romans as well as tourists.
Every year the Roseto opens to the public for the flowering season, and there are usually guided tours and special events. One memorable year the Roseto was open at night with dramatic and musical shows, a restaurant and a cocktail bar. The gardens are well worth a visit for the beauty of the setting and the flowers, even if you’re not a rose enthusiast.
The Roseto is on Viale del Circo Massimo, on the slopes of the Aventine, above the Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus). The nearest Metro station is Circo Massimo (Linea B). Typical opening hours, with free entry, are 8am-6.30pm every day during the May-June flowering season. Daytime opening may be extended, with summer evening entertainments, although arrangements will change from year to year. Ask at a tourist information kiosk for the latest details.
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