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Chasing the Rose: An Adventure in the Venetian Country [Kindle Edition]

Andrea di Robilant
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £17.79
Kindle Price: £1.74 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
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Book Description

From the author of the best-selling 'A Venetian Affair', here is the charming chronicle of his search for the identity of a mysterious old rose. Andrea di Robilant’s tale takes us back to the time of Josephine Bonaparte, as well as into some of the most delightful rose gardens in Italy today.

In his 2008 biography of the Venetian lady Lucia Mocenigo (his great-great-great-great- grandmother), di Robilant described a pink rose that grows wild on the family’s former country estate, mentioning its light peach-and-raspberry scent. This passing detail led to an invitation for an audience with a local rose doyenne, Eleonora Garlant. She and other experts wondered if di Robilant’s unnamed rose could possibly be one of the long-lost China varieties that nineteenth-century European growers had cultivated but which have since disappeared. On the hunt for the identity of his anonymous yet quietly distinctive rose, Di Robilant finds himself captivated by roseophiles through time––from Lucia and her friend Josephine Bonaparte to the gifted Eleonora, whose garden of nearly fifteen hundred varieties of old roses is one of the most significant in Europe––and by the roses themselves, each of which has a tale to tell.

What starts out as a lighthearted quest becomes a meaningful journey as di Robilant contemplates the enduring beauty of what is passed down to us in a rose, through both the generosity of nature and the cultivating hand of human beings, who for centuries have embraced and extended the life of this mysterious flower.


Andrea di Robilant was born in Italy and educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in international affairs. He is the author of 'A Venetian Affair', 'Lucia: A Venetian Life in the Age of Napoleon', and 'Irresistible North: From Venice to Greenland on the Trail of the Zen Brothers'. He lives in Rome.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1981 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JUW3E0C
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #174,203 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Would it smell the same with another name? 14 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love roses, particular the old varieties with names that suggest a long history - who was Madame Albert Carriere? Does Paul’s Himalayan Musk really come from northern India? And I love the Chinese species roses like Rosa Moyesii imported by travellers hundreds of years ago – and the Persian roses mentioned in the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam.

‘Look to the blowing Rose about us--"Lo,
Laughing," she says, "into the world I blow,
At once the silken tassel of my Purse
Tear, and its Treasure on the Garden throw." ‘

So I was immediately intrigued by this Kindle single.

Andrea di Robilant had an ancestor, Alvise Mocenigo, who lived at the end of the 18th century and who had a wife called Lucia who became a friend of Empress Josephine after Napoleon had divorced her. Lucia caught Josephine’s obsession with roses - the rarer the better - and carried many of them back from Paris to the family estate at Alvisipoli in the hills between Trieste and Slovenia in what used to be the Venetian Republic.

The family estate has long since dissolved into ruin, but on a nostalgic visit to the village, Andrea is taken into the gardens - now returned to wilderness - and shown a shrub rose covered in silvery pink flowers. It smells of peaches and raspberries.
‘Although I did not know much about roses, everything about it, the delicate color, the sweet fragrance, the way it carried itself - suggested this was an old rose of some importance that had been growing wild in these woods for a very long time’.

Locally it’s known as Rosa Moceniga, but no one knows it’s true name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Rosé Lovers 17 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Drove me mad at times due to me constantly moving from kindle to Internet so that I could see what the roses mentioned look like, learn more about them and see if still available. The story was most interesting and a very good read. Have told friends about it who have also purchased.
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Format:Hardcover
Well-written, charming and an inspiration to gardeners. Di Robilant is a fortunate man who makes the reader see the lovely flowers, and the interesting people, and the fascinating niche of European history he writes about. One quibble: though the illustrations were adequate, a photograph of the rose he chased (and found) would have been useful, as I am currently chasing that same rose through catalogues and the internet, such was the impact of the book on this reader.
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Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I found this a wonderful look back at the history of the rose, in this case a particular rose, I thoroughly recommend it to any lover of roses
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5.0 out of 5 stars An unexpected pleasure 29 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an absolutely charming acount of the author's search for the origian on a rose found growing in woodlands on what was once his family's estate in the north of Italy. It is full of extraordinary facts - Goethe anticipated Darwin in positing an original plant from which all others are descended, for example - and historical incidentals such as the Empress Josephine's 'rosomanie'. And the authro himself comes across as a very attractive character - unassuming, able to laugh at himself and yet extremely determined to follow his quest. I can't recommend it too highly.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting Read 14 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book as it was historical without being dry and the humanistic approach to the roses was quite lovely I thought. I am a huge rose lover myself which made the book even more enjoyable. I would certainly recommend it to my rosarian friends.
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