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Journey to discover the most beautiful rose gardens in Italy

Each year Grandi Giardini Italiani promotes visits to gardens selected from its circuit as an opportunity to learn about or rediscover important collections of ancient and modern roses. Thus was born the In the Name of the Rose itinerary, a journey to discover the most beautiful rose gardens adhering to our circuit, which boast within them important collections of roses that draw labyrinths, such as that of the Rose Castle in Cordovado (Cordovado, PN), flower-lined avenues, such as the Avenue of Roses at the Sigurtà Garden Park (Vialeggio sul Mincio, VR), or even in the shape of an angel’s wing, such as the Vacunae Rosae Rose Garden (Roccantica, RI) or even the extraordinary rose garden at Villa d’Este in Tivoli, to name but a few.
In the Name of the Rose is a special invitation to discover the romantic and extraordinary rose blooms within the Great Italian Gardens circuit, following its flowering cycle, different from region to region.

Since 2020, In the Name of the Rose has also been an itinerary for discovering the Great Italian Gardens® Rose-a bushy, large-flowered rose with an upright habit, dense, dark green foliage, highly resistant to disease, and intense fragrance. The Rose is meant to be a souvenir, an olfactory reminder of a day spent in a network garden.

If you are looking for important rose collections in Liguria, the enchanting rose garden dedicated to actress Virna Lisi, kept within the garden of Villa Durazzo in Santa Margherita Ligure overlooking the beautiful Tigullio Gulf, is worth a visit. The flower exhibits a cream hue with pink edging and is adorned with brilliant foliage. Intense scent with green, floral notes and pleasant apple fragrance. Moving down to Alassio, in the province of Savona, in the Villa della Pergola Gardens, already famous for its important collections of wisteria and agapanthus, there is a spectacular arbor of banksiae roses that unites the different levels of the park.

In Lombardy, not to be missed is the “Niso Fumagalli” rose garden at the Villa Reale Park in Monza. Designed in 1964 by architects Francesco Clerici and Vittorio Faglia, where one of the formal gardens adjoining the archducal residence used to be, the rose garden, with its slightly undulating terrain, pond and well-designed paths is home to more than 4,000 varieties of roses including a wonderful collection of old varieties around the water feature, and creepers along the gate and on the pergola. The most fragrant roses are hidden among yew tree wings inside The Secret Perfume Garden.
In the province of Varese, on the other hand, the Roseto della Pace deserves special mention-a collection of only roses, present in hundreds of different varieties, much cared for, loved and experienced, adjacent to the nursing home for the elderly in the municipality of Induno Olona. The rose garden stands on an area occupied until the summer of 2011 by a dense coniferous forest, when a violent whirlwind left behind a large void that was filled by the will, intuition and dedication of Elio Bigi, a gardener and historic local floriculturist. Today there are nearly 6,500 specimens here, with a total of 632 different varieties: old roses, English roses, climbing roses, but the largest group is the Tea hybrids.

In Trentino-South Tyrol, in the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, in the province of Bolzano, since early May, 20 varieties of roses have been welcoming visitors in the arbor that accompanies them to the entrance of the Gardens. Here you can admire climbing roses such as the enchanting Modern Rose “Pierre de Ronsard,” with its fragrant stradoppi flowers and with the appearance of an ancient rose, and again the Rose “Modern Times,” with its flamboyant color that changes from golden yellow to vermilion orange, but above all you can discover the fragrant and elegant Rosa Grandi Giardini Italiani®. Moving to the province of Trento, however, in Ronzone, the Rose Garden holds a rich collection of the major rose groups, in bloom from mid-June. Nestled among the meadows of the upper Val di Non, the Garden offers a breathtaking view of the vast landscape and mountains of the upper Anaunia as far as the Adamello Brenta Park and the Maddalene chain.

In Friuli Venezia Giulia, the Castello delle Rose di Corvovado in Cordovado, in the province of Pordenone, is famous for its sun-shaped labyrinth composed of damask rose plants, in which to get lost walking among heady scents, immersed in the light, colors and extraordinary energy of roses.

In the Veneto region, it is the Avenue of Roses at the Sigurtà Garden Park, with its more than 30,000 re-flowering roses, that bewitches visitors with its charm. Moving from the province of Verona to that of Padua, and more precisely to Due Carrare, at the Castle of San Pelagio in May one can admire a beautiful flowering of roses: there are about 1,000 of more than 200 varieties.

In Emilia Romagna, in Tredozio, the invitation is to discover the secret Italianate garden of Palazzo Fantini. Elevated above the floor of the house, it is accessible only by a flight of steps along a wide supporting wall and consists of several sections that lie on the hill and uphill. Designed in the 1800s, it incorporates the classic themes of the period: the secret pathways, the fountain with water lilies, the precise geometries of the hedges, the topiary boxwoods, the beds of antique roses with stachis lanata, and borders of “old-fashioned” flowers such as dahlias and begonias, irises and lantanas. Collections of roses also adorn the park of Villa La Babina (Sasso Morelli Imola, BO), now the headquarters of CLAI’s Management Center. The garden’s current landscaped layout has the characteristics of 19th-century parks of stately homes on the Bolognese plains. Here last year about 100 specimens of the Grandi Giardini Italiani® Rose were planted, thus creating the first rose garden dedicated to Grandi Giardini Italiani.

In Tuscany in Montepulciano, in the province of Siena, to remain in your heart will be the small rose garden kept in the Villa Trecci Park. Several varieties are housed here such as: Accademia, a Tea hybrid created by Rose Barni in 2006 and dedicated to the Accademia Piemontese del Giardino, with bright deep pink, highly scented flowers; Antico Amore, a Tea hybrid created by Rose Barni in 1988, recognizable by the flesh-pink color of its lightly scented petals; or Cometa, Dolce Luna, Eyes for you, Girandola, Mariangela Melato and other roses each with its own story to be told and discovered.

In the Marche region, in Pesaro, there is a rose garden of old roses housed in the grounds of the 18th-century Villa Caprile. The current appearance of the rose garden is the result of the commitment and dedication of the many faculty members of the Institute of the Department of Agronomy over the years. In 2019, Professor Michela Brunetti, head of the Gardens, assisted by technicians from the Institute’s Agronomy Department, Giuliana Amadori and Guido Litti, completed the work with the cataloging and charting and the planting of the Grandi Giardini Italiani® Rose.

In Latium, in Roccantica, in the province of Rieti, stands the Roseto Vacunae Rosae, the world’s first rose garden with more than 5,000 roses of different varieties, whose shape recalls the wing of an angel immortalized at the moment when, lying on the cold, bare earth, with his divine touch he brings it to life in an explosion of scents and colorful hues.

Moving to the Roman shoreline at Tor San Lorenzo in the splendid Landriana Gardens, designed by Lavinia Taverna and Russell Page, walk along the famous Avenue of Roses that leads room after room to the Valley of the Ancient Roses, where a myriad of fragrant roses grow in free-form beds fringed with lavender, thyme and nepeta. Colors range from snow-white to every shade of pink and crimson. When the roses take their midsummer rest, many flowering shrubs of Pavonia rosea spring up among them.

Still further south, in the striking Giardino di Ninfa in Cisterna di Latina, half an hour d Gaeta, the presence of roses are one of the indelible traces left by Marguerite Chapin, wife of Roffredo Caetani, who began the work of restoring the gardens continued masterfully by her daughter Lelia, a sensitive and delicate woman who tended the garden like a large painting, she being a painter, matching colors and indulging the natural development of the plants, without forcing, and avoiding the use of pollutants. In Tivoli, in the imposing Renaissance garden surrounding the Villa d’Este, more than 350 varieties of roses are grown, many of them in evidence, others more set back from the garden’s most important directions.

In Campania, in the medieval village of Piedimonte di Casolla, in the province of Caserta, the protagonist of the Garden of Palazzo Cocozza di Montanara is the “Ronsard” rose garden, which the visual illusion seems to bring out of ancient bowls of blue agapanthus at the foot of orange trees, of holm oaks, of Phoenix Canariensis, of cedars and pines, pomegranates and flowering hedges, artifacts of tufa, of stones and friezes in the mixture of historical substrate in which the Mediterranean Romantic garden and the contemporary reinterpretation of the English landscape architect Peter Curzon are grafted.

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