The Roseto Botanico

Has anyone visited The Roseto Botanico “Carla Fineschi” in Toscana, Italy? It’s a private garden open to the public that states it is a living museum representing the history of the rose with over 7000 cultivars, some considered extinct. Sounds like heaven. See


Greetings from Italy! As a matter of fact, I’m at the Roseto right now. I spend about 2-3 months a year here, helping with the pruning, guiding tours during the peak season (May), keeping an inventory of all the varieties… and whatever else Professor Fineschi finds for me to do!

Thanks for mentioning our website. I hope more people will visit it, and the Roseto, as well. It truly is heaven for a rose lover!

Marily Young


are the rumors true that it may be sold off shortly to developers? My fear is that it will disappear before I get a chance to see it.


NO!!! The rumors that it may be sold off to developers is NOT true. The estate has been in the family for over 200 years and most of it is still a working farm, producing olive oil and wine.

What IS in danger (due to lack of money) is the maintenance of the rose garden itself. It costs more than $50K a year to maintain the Roseto and now that Professor Fineschi is retired, the funding simply isn’t available. Entrance donations don’t come anywhere close to covering the cost. We’re working on some options, but so far, we have nothing solid. What we need is a fairy godmother (father).


Marily - I was thrilled to see your response, especially that you are working there right now. Would you mind a few questions?

With the wide variety available, was/is there any hybridizing work happening?

Could you name a few rare, favorite and/or interesting roses in the collection?

Do you have any Italian garden secrets?

I’m thankful to hear that the family plans on keeping the Roseto and land from developers. Funding is a huge problem with so many private and public gardens. Advertising for donation or submitting articles for publication thru world wide rose society or other gardening magazines may help.



Although there isn’t any hybridizing work being done at the garden, per se… we have several projects underway to distribute budwood of rare and interesting varieties to public gardens and nurseries around the world. Just as one small example, Peter Harris and I have been working on getting budwood of Clare Grammerstorf into the U.S., because there is a lot of interest in breeding with it. So far, the plant at the Roseto has not been large or strong enough to take cuttings, but I hope we’ll be able to get something this spring. Also, because of our huge species collection, I think there is a lot of potential for other hybridizing efforts.

As for rare and/or favorite varieties… ! We have a huge collection of Dot and Moreira da Silva roses which are very difficult to find elsewhere. We have a number of Hybrid Banksias that are virtually unknown outside of Italy. Also - a lot of HT’s and F’s from Europe in the 20’s and 30’s. Many Ramblers, including some very rare ones from Walsh and Clark. I guess I’d have to say that many of my personal favorites are among the species and near-species hybrids, particularly the HCan and HSpn groups. ‘Glory of Edzell’, ‘Helen Knight’, R. villosa pomifera ‘Duplex’… (I’m also a sucker for the purple gallicas, but they’re not particularly rare).

Italian garden secrets? Not really, but maybe a confession. Our roses take a lot of abuse. They only get fed once a year, they’re never deadheaded, and they get almost no water from mid-June thru mid-Sept. (we have no watering system). We lose some every year, but… we try to recognize a weak plant before we lose it, and we re-bud it.



Is there a list of rose vars and species grown at Roseto Botanico?

Pierre rutten

Pierre, click on the different rose beds in the tour, and lists of the roses grown will be shown.


Thank you much Peter.


I could not find many species nor the Hybrid Banksias you mention.

I know Mansuino did little known Banksia and Laevigata crosses. Do you also grow the later ones?

Pierre Rutten

Thank you much Peter

I do not know why but I did not get the links you send me when clicking. Probably I did not at the right place.

Pierre Rutten

Pierre, you need to click three or more times, each time magnifying a point in the garden. It’s ingenious.

A very interesting and informative full page article about The Fineschi Garden and Professor Gianfranco Fineschi can be found in the book, The American Rose Society encyclopedia of Roses. Robyn