I just got back from my visit to this unique rosarium in Cavriglia (Tuscany, Italy), founded in the middle of the 1960s, and developed thereafter by Gianfranco Fineschi. The most important principle of this rosarium is that it should be conceived as a museum: a collection of ancient and modern roses. In this blog I will write some of my first impressions about the rosarium accompanied with photos. Later I’m hoping to write a more detailed report about this rosarium and my visit to it.
To my shame I must admit that I’ve only heard about this rosarium a few years ago, but I got very intrigued by the place and by the end of last year I planned a trip to Cavriglia to do research for a book I’m writing about Moss Roses. In the rosarium of Fineschi I found some 62 of the old (and a few modern) Moss Roses; luckily the timing and the weather were perfect so I was able to see the roses in their full glory and took lots of photos (about 3.600!). Also I had done my homework in advance and had a notebook with me with most of the known Mosses, so I was able to easily make lots of notes of each and every Moss Rose I could find.
My first impression was the overwhelming scent of the different roses when entering the rosarium; also lots of color (mostly from the more ‘modern’ roses). The rosarium is spacious, although the roses are planted close to each other and are tied to small wooden poles. There are lots of terraces and terracotta (?) statues; olive trees (and other large trees) are amidst the roses and everywhere there are chairs to rest and enjoy the surroundings. It is nicely quiet and the sound of birds and peacocks is everywhere.
The rosarium looks well maintained; the soil is heavy red clay, which after a few sunny days is hard as a rock; it looks to me as very hard work to keep the soil free of weeds. Sadly lots of spraying is done, because I hardly saw any insects (accept very large beetles, sitting in the center of the rose flowers). The roses where covered in a blue layer of Bordeaux mixture and maybe that also is the reason that not many insects survive this treatment.
I was fortunate to meet Antonella Fineschi, one of the daughters of Gianfranco Fineschi, and we had a nice talk about the roses, the problems and the responsibility of inheriting the rosarium (a private rosarium without subsidies) and just roses in general. Of the 4 full days I was in the rosarium, I’ve spent three and a half at the Old Roses section and more specific at the Moss Roses part. The first two days were a bit cloudy, but the temperature was a warm 27 to 30 degrees. On the third day I noticed that the Moss Roses where already starting to fade a bit, so I was glad that I got to there just in time. I love the Old Roses, but for us rose lovers there is only a short time each year to enjoy their flowers.