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Italy/Are plants and grasses still green in mid-late December in Rome?


I'm not sure how this site works, so I want to let you know I asked this question of another expert who is not an expert on Rome. It doesn't look like anyone lives there so that's why I'm asking more than one person. I hope that's okay.


I've written a story that takes place in Ancient Rome during Saturnalia, and I completely forgot to fact check this one thing. (I can't even tell you how many hours I put in doing research!) I have a character trying to talk about how quickly a blade of grass (I know it's not the same grass as here in the US) or leaf could be still green and when it might change to brown or fall off. I originally wrote it that he picked a blade of grass and said how it was so green only a few weeks ago and is already losing color and soon it will turn brown. The other character then points out it will come back to life in the spring. But if that won't work, I could use a leaf and the other character would say that new leaves would come and the plant/tree would be green again.

The story is part of an anthology and all the proceeds go to charity. I have no idea because here in Seattle where I live, grass is green all winter and is at it's most vivid green in fall because it's so wet here. We have few deciduous trees but their leaves turn brown in fall. Thank you so, so much.

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Hello Kelly,

I get a lot of travel questions to answer here but your question poses a more historical and practical knowledge response.

Saturnalia as you know was celebrated at the beginning of December so Italy would have already been in the grip of its winter - you did not tell me what part of Italy your character is located as he contemplates the blade of grass? If in central Italy and around Rome nature here has already gone into its winter sleep and what native grasses exist in Italy would have been trampled into mud or buried in fields turned by a rough ploughing to prepare for the sowing of corn or wheat in the spring.

Rather than going with the blade of grass I would humbly suggest your character contemplate a leaf turning, having just fallen off a tree and fallen to the ground. I would consider something like the dying leaf of the fig tree; so important to life in ancient Rome yet it too died its death ready to be reborn in the spring.

"Fig - Native to the Mediterranean region, the fig tree appears in some images of the Garden of Eden. After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with leaves that are usually said to be from the fig tree, and Islamic tradition mentions two forbidden trees in Eden—a fig tree and an olive tree. In Greek and Roman mythology, figs are sometimes associated with Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans), god of wine and drunkenness, and with Priapus, a satyr who symbolized sexual desire."

I don't know if my words are of any use or help to you Kelly?

Peter Kilby  


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Peter Kilby


Can answer questions on general travel in Italy (in particular in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Umbria and Venice) with a focus on history, art and museums.


I have lived in Italy for 25 years and I'm currently living in southern Tuscany. I have worked in tourism in Italy for 20 years and in that time I've created a reputation that is highly regarded in the USA, Australia and NZ. I've also created: and and I'm currently working on new iPhone apps, beginning with locations in Florence.

Organizations These days I write exclusively for this website.

The Hearld Sun and The Age newspapers in Australia. Enzine and GoArticles on the internet. British Heritage magazine out of the UK and the USA.

Australian College degrees in Fine Arts (Painting), Journalism and History.

Awards and Honors
1987 - Italian Government Scholarship to study Painting at the Rome Academy.

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I have dedicated the last 2 years of my life in developing and improving:

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