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The Roses of Paestum

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Fields of wonderful fragrant roses adorned the city of Paestum about two thousand years ago. The crops were used to obtain ointments and perfumes: in the northwest corner of the Pestum roman square, it is still possible to identify the remains of an ancient perfumery. The rose flower is the symbol of spring and owes its name to the nymph Roda, daughter of Aphrodite and Poseidon. The Paestum Rose was called by the Romans “Damask bifera”, because it had a second flowering in autumn after the first in spring and it was so popular that Virgilio coined the expression Paestano cultu, referring to the special local technique of cultivation of roses. Today, thanks to archaeobotanical studies, the paestana rose has returned to flourish in the archaeological area.

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