Bougainvillea Season

June 3, 2008 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio
While certainly not a native Mediterranean plant, the bougainvillea does incredibly well in Italian soil. Given its ubiquity around here however, it can be considered local for all intents and purposes. Just try to imagine Sicilian balconies or Roman piazze without it . . . it just doesn’t compute.

It’s a real pleasure to walk around and (re)-“discover” plants throughout the city at this time of year, when they are in full bloom. Hurry though, they don’t last that long, although you can always catch them again next year. Some examples…

The first two photos are of the same plant, a truly spectacular 5 story tall monster of a plant that has taken over the entire south-east corner of this building in Trastevere. The auto mechanic whose garage is under it needs to trim it as well as the cascading white rose bush also visible at its base regularly, or it would take over his shop too.

This one here is a different variety, and has taken over one of the posts of the gate/entrance to the Teatro di Marcello. The statue of the stone monkey on top appears to be floating on his bougainvillea cloud.

This bougainvillea out front of trendy Salotto 42, not far from the Pantheon, always puts on an incredible bloom each season. The effect is even stronger here as this is the only plant in Piazza di Pietra, a pedestrian only square (hence no cars), whose entire flank opposite the one visible here is the still perfectly preserved outside wall and columns of the temple of Hadrian, and whose cobblestones have just recently been re-laid (hence very neat and even).

This one along Vicolo del Cedro in Trastevere is smaller, but no less beautiful given its “framing” of the small votive image of the saint. Probably completely unintentional, it wouldn’t have been possible to make it seem more natural if one had tried.


by GB Bernardini

Editor, Italian Notebook

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