Yesterday was a holiday – for us Canadians at least, it was what we called when I was a child “Victoria Day” or the Queen’s Birthday. So we decided to do some walking around town – this time three churches and the Roseto Communale (Municipal Rose Garden)all located on the Aventine Hill.) Historically the Aventine has been the area of Rome for outsiders – first with poor old Remus, then the workers from the port below then various groups of foreigners. From 1645 until 1934 it was also the site of the Jewish Cemetery. The cemetery was moved to Campo Verano and the burial ground turned into a park under the Fascist rule. The area itself had undergone constant change and what was once working class became gentrified, tree line and very, very upscale.
The first Municipal Rose Garden was the brain child of Mary Senni, an American woman, who felt Rome deserved a park to rival the Jardins de Bagattelle in Paris. The first Municipal Rose Garden was created in 1931 on the Oppian Hill near the Colosseo. It fell into disuse and been left unattended during World War II and its aftermath. By 1950 there was little left to justify it even being called a garden.
That same year the Commune di Roma asked the Jewish Community for permission to created a rose garden on the site of the old Cemetery. The Community agreed but asked that references be made to the once holy nature of the site. As well as the two stele at the entrance recording the Ten Commandments the pathways of the garden were laid out in an unusual manner to signify the heritage of the area.
The garden is normally open during May and June but the cool wet spring meant a late start this year and it did not open until this past weekend. It is estimated that the garden contains some 1200 varieties of Rosa – species or wild roses, old roses and modern roses.
*And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
19 maggio – san Celestino V Papa