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Life blooms from historic Jewish cemetery in Rome

2013-08-26

Deep in the heart of the Eternal City, no place can show off thecycle of life and death better than the Roseto Comunale, Romes rose garden. Nestled between the ruins of an imperial palace, and the busy streets of modern day Rome, the small piece of land holds huge historical significance.   

SALVATORE IANNI 
Director, Roseto Comunale 
"This garden was for 300 years the cemetery for the Jewish community in Rome, the oldest established community in all the West.” 

In the period before World War II, the Fascist government slices across the cemetery to build roads. They dug up graves and transferred them elsewhere. 

The war destroyed Rome's original rose garden, and, with the blessing from Rome's Jewish community, the city decided to move it here. To this day, the many of the bodies remained buried beneath the blooming plants. 

SALVATORE IANNI 
Director, Roseto Comunale 
"Stars of David were placed near the entrance, with reproductions of Moses' tablets to commemorate the garden's history. More so, in the planning. It was designed in the form of a Menorah, the Jewish candelabra with sever arms, the symbol of Judaism.” 

Over the years, the garden's collection grew. Today, it houses over 1,200 varieties, from million year old roses, to the newest hybrids. 

Among its more exotic varieties is this green-petaled rose from China, or this rose shrub with bright red thorns that glow in the daylight. 

Each year, the garden also hosts one of the world's most prestigious rose competitions. 

SALVATORE IANNI 
Director, Roseto Comunale
"Participants come to plant their hybrids two years before the event. Our gardeners take care of them until the big day of the international competition.” 

With nearly 50,000 visitors each year, the rose garden is one of Rome's least known attractions, but no least important. Unlike other attractions, Springtime and Fall are the only times to see this former graveyard. That's when its roses come to life. 


RCarr 
MG 
-JM
-PR 
-U:RCarr