From their website:
The Florence Council, in collaboration the the Italian Iris Society, have held an International Iris Competition for tall and bearded irises every year since 1954, with a large presence and international success. Fifty two competitions have taken place up to now, with the record participation, for 2004, of 150 new varieties. The rhysomes of each variety are sent to Florence by hybridisers throughout the world during the period June to September and they are cultivated at the Iris Garden of Piazzale Michelangelo for three years before being judged by an International Jury. The Competition is 'anonymous', that is, each plant entered is labelled with initials so that the Jury knows the name of the variety and of the hybridiser only after having finished judging. A classification of merit is established and some special prizes are awarded, on the basis of particular characteristics of the individual variety. The winner of the first prize receives a Gold Fiorin, the gift of the Florence Tourist Organisation. A Special prize offered by the Florence Council is awarded to the red variety, which is most similar to the Iris depicted on the banner of the City.
THE 54th INTERNATIONAL IRIS COMPETITION
10 - 15 May 2010
10 May: Work of the International Jury begins
15 May : Awarding Ceremony at the Town Hall (Palazzo Vecchio)
The Iris garden is at the Piazzale Michelangelo: