As per tradition, on 21 April, on the occasion of Rome's birthday, the municipal rose garden, a splendid park that houses an extraordinary collection of roses, reopens to the public.
This surprising spectacle of scents and colors with a magnificent view that ranges from the Palatine Hill to the bell tower of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, to the dome of the Synagogue, and the Vittoriano, up to the observatory of Monte Mario, the Rose Garden of Rome is located on the slopes of the Aventine, just above the Circus Maximus, in a place dedicated to flowers since the distant III century BC.
The widest part of the garden - which in its entirety is spread over about 10,000 square meters - hosts around 1,200 species of roses from all over the world, even from China and Mongolia. The most singular are: Rosa Chinensis Virdiflora, with green petals; Rosa Chinensis Mutabilis, which changes color with the passing of the days; and Rosa Foetida, gorgeous but malodorous rose. The smaller sector hosts the roses participating in the "Premio Roma per le Nuove Varietà" International Competition, which takes place every year on the third Saturday of May.
The first edition of the prestigious award dates back to 10 October 1933, when it crowned the Saturnia variety for the "Italian roses" category, obtained by the breeder Domenico Aicardi of Sanremo, and the Spanish variety Condesa de Sastago for the "foreign roses" category, of the roseist Pedro Dot.
This classification, not very technical but which always guaranteed recognition to Italian hybridizers, was maintained until 1954. From 1955, the categories became "Floribunde," roses with bunches of flowers, and "HT," with a single flower for each stem.
The roses participating in the Premio Roma, specimens not yet on the market, arrive in the city 20 months before the event so that the young seedlings, coming from every corner of the planet, can develop and acclimate to our climate. During this period, they are cared for by the Rose Garden's technical experts and viewed, on several occasions, by a special permanent jury called to express a technical opinion without knowing their origin or provenance. The plants are identifiable only by a number. On the day of the competition, each rose has its starting score to which the one expressed by the international jury is added based on olfactory and aesthetic criteria (colour, shape of the flower).
Alongside the international jury, two other "Special" Juries assign the Fragrance Award and the Children's Rose, an acknowledgment given by primary school pupils. This last prize was established for the first time in Rome in 2000 and then re-proposed in other prestigious world contests.