In the Garden of Ninfa, travelers will discover a wide range of exotic plants from various parts of the world, numerous watercourses and a large variety of rambling roses growing over the stone walls of the ruins. Ninfa is a landscape garden in the territory of Cisterna di Latina, in the province of Latina, a part of Lazio in central Italy. It's location makes it a perfect day trip from Rome. Its 260 acres comprise an Italian natural monument which contains medieval ruins, several oaks, cypresses and poplars, and grassy meadows. The garden has an almost-returned to Nature feel about it. It is open to the public at set times from April to November. Nearby towns include Norma and Sermoneta. Ninfa has been described as "the most romantic garden in the world".
During the Middle Ages, Ninfa was actually a hamlet containing more than 150 houses, churches, mills, bridges, inns, a castle and a town hall. The town was encircled by a defensive wall over half a mile long with guard towers. The castle was built in the 12th century near the lake outside the city walls. Santa Maria Maggiore was the town's primary church and was most likely built from the 10th century and widened in the first half of the 12th century. The Church of Saint John is dated around the 11th century and is now in ruins.
In the 16th century Ninfa was repopulated by its inhabitants, when Cardinal Nicolò III Caetani ordered the architect Francesco Perugino to build a garden in the area of Ninfa, but this garden fell into decay soon after the Cardinal's death in 1585. During the 17th century it was gradually deserted due to the expansion of the surrounding marshes and the arrival mosquitoes carrying malaria.
By the 18th century the last mill was abandoned and the town hall was transformed into a barn. Pope Pius VI started a reclamation of the marshes, but the project was abandoned. The garden at Ninfa sat neglected under the domain of the Caetani family until the 20th century, when the estate was renovated and the garden was transformed.
As it stands today, this botanical treasure garden is crossed by numerous small springs as well as the river Ninfa, which flows south of the garden. Restoration of the garden involved importing plant species from all over the world. There are over a thousand varieties of plants and trees, such as American walnuts, several ornamental apples, yuccas, Cotinus coggygria, catalpa, cedar trees and many rose bushes that seem to have taken over the ruins of medieval structures.
The Gardens are open only on certain days from April through November. Visits are by scheduled tours only. Click the link below to reserve tickets.
Fondazione Roffredo Caetani onlus
Via della Fortezza
04010 Sermoneta (LT)