Semenzaio di San Sisto (plant nursery) | Turismo Roma
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Semenzaio di San Sisto (plant nursery)

Nestled between the Baths of Caracalla, Villa Celimontana and Porta Metronia, the Semenzaio di San Sisto is now the headquarters of Servizio Giardini of the city of Rome, one of the greenest cities in Europe. However, its story begins in the early 19th century, when the young aristocrat Camille de Tournon was chosen by Napoleon as prefect of Rome in the aftermath of the French occupation of the city.

Tournon had the idea of building a “pepinière”, a nursery where plants could be grown for Rome’s new public avenues and parks, on the grounds of the monastery of San Sisto, where cloistered Dominican nuns had resided since 1222. Also contributing to the choice of this site was the presence of a waterway that entered Rome from Porta Metronia and fed two water mills, the Mola di San Sisto Vecchio and the Molella, whose structures are still partly preserved today.

In 1814, when the French troops left the city, the papal government inherited as many as 30,000 trees ready to be transplanted. The nursery, however, experienced mixed fortunes until 1926, when it was renovated and restored by landscape architect Raffaele De Vico. De Vico designed the splendid iron and glass greenhouses for flowers and the Aranciera (Orangery) building for more delicate plants, featuring a monumental neoclassical façade.

The park occupies a large area, and its avenues are home to plants from various parts of the world. The Semenzaio grows azaleas that adorn the Spanish Steps each year between April and May, as well as a rich collection of rare and valuable plants, including orchids and carnivorous plants. The Semenzaio is not open to the public, but the Garden Service organizes periodic guided tours.


POINT (12.497450325434 41.881934198627)

Not open to the public.
Can only be visited during guided tours of the Environment Department.

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Semenzaio di S. Sisto, Via Druso, 2
Via Druso, 2
41° 52' 54.9624" N, 12° 29' 50.82" E


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