A Not So Secret Garden


A contemporary touch was added toward the continuity of Rome's pluri-millenial history. Italy's Minister of Culture, Francesco Rutelli and Rome's Mayor, Walter Veltroni, inaugurated a new door by contemporary artist Jannis Kounellis on the recently recuperated Monastic garden at the cathedral of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome. The garden was created by Cistercian monks in the 1700's inside the ruins of an ancient Roman amphitheatre adjacent to the Santa Croce church, which itself originated in the time of Emperor Constantine. Florid until the early 20th century, the Monastic garden eventually deteriorated in ruins until a decade ago when the Friends of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme decided to restore it. Today the monks toil in a fertile harmoniously laid out garden that not only provides the monastery with its needs, but has bounty left for a sort of farmer's market in the area four days a week. The monks' fruits and vegetables are on sale within hours of picking on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons from 4 to 6 pm and Saturday mornings from 10 to 12 noon immediately to the right of Kounellis door. (Tours of the garden are by appointment; 06-701-4769.)

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