The Italian Iris Society was born in Florence (Italy) in 1959 to manage the International contest which started in 1957. This year (1998) we are going to celebrate the 42 nd edition. The aim is to judge new hybrids from all over the world. The breeders send their rhizomes to Florence three years prior to judgment, made during five days work by five international experts, which are changed every year. The venue of the contest is the Iris Gardens located at the foot of Michelangelo Square. The judgement is made on the general characteristics of the plant and flowers of each variety, in order to award the established prizes, of which the first is a reproduction of the Golden Florin. The contest is normally scheduled in the first half of May, this year 11 th -16 th , and the announcement of the winner is made in the solemnity of the Town Hall, the famous and well-known "Palazzo Vecchio".