The Natural Monument "Giardino di Ninfa" was established in 2000 by the Region of Lazio and includes a perfect English style garden located right where the ancient medieval ruins of the town of Ninfa used to be and Pantanello Natural Park, an area of about one hundred acres where the old "Pontine Marshes" have been restored to their former 1930's status.
Visiting the Gardens of Ninfa is truly an impressive mix of nature and history that lets you discover interesting plants, walk among the ruins of the ancient village, visit the castle and see the architectural harmony of one of the most beautiful gardens in Lazio.
"Giardino di Ninfa" is located between the towns of Norma, Sermoneta and Cisterna di Latina and it's only an hour drive from Rome.
HISTORY OF NINFA
It is believed that the town of Ninfa already existed in Roman times, although it was only a small agricultural center and then later began to expand, thanks to trade. The first inhabitants of Ninfa were the Counts of Tusculum around the eleventh century. Then came the Frangipane family who began building the castle walls to better defend the city. After the Frangipane, Ninfa passed to the Colonna family, but after they were excommunicated in 1297,Pietro Caetani bought Ninfa for 200 gold florins. Ninfa then experienced a period of growth both economically and socially. The walls and castle were fortified and expanded, and around the same time the town hall and 2 hospitals of St. Matthew and The Mancinule were built. The huge reclamation of marshland operation began around this time as well.
Due to conflicts with the Pope, there was a violent confrontation and Ninfa was completely destroyed in 1381 and never rebuilt. After that, Ninfa was used as a foundry by the Caetani, then as agricultural land by farmers who remained in the area. There were several attempts to rebuild Ninfa and its surroundings, but all proved a failure. The real breakthrough came in 1921 when Gelasius Caetani began cleaning up the area and restoring some of the ruins of Ninfa, especially the tower and the town hall, to make a summer residence. Caetani, guided by his mother, also began to add to the Garden of Ninfa with some plant species that he had collected from his travels abroad. The project then continued under the direction of Roffredo Caetani, and his wife Marguerite Chapin who gave the Garden of Nymph a distinctly English style that has many attracted people like Gabriele D'Annunzio, Boris Leonidovich Pasternak and Benito Mussolini.
GIARDINO DI NINFA (Garden of Nymph)
The garden covers an area of about 8 acres, and has over a thousand different plants species. The garden of Ninfa was designed according to the typical architecture of English gardens, with many small streams and river nymphs, hence the name of the garden. Among the many plants in the Garden of Nymph there are hickory, Japanese maples, beech, beautiful rose gardens, a driveway with tall cypress trees, cherry trees, banana trees, a rock garden, bamboo trees, and near the river typical Brazilian river vegetation.
Pantanello Natural Park is right outside the walls of the garden. Thanks to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), the park is a protected area and part of the Pontine Marshes that also has all the different flora and fauna found in the Ninfa Gardens. Because of this natural protected environment, it has attracted many animals such as teals, mallards, gadwalls, herons, lapwings and various other bird species.
Opening: The Garden is open to the public from April to October, on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month, and the third Sunday in April, May and June. We suggest you visit the official web site (http://www.fondazionecaetani.org/index.php) before going to verify the schedule.
Hours: Morning 9:00am to 12:00 pm /2:30pm to 6:00pm (April, May, June) 3:00pm - 6:30pm (July, August, September) 2:30pm - 4:00pm (October)
Tickets: Individual € 10.00 / children (under 11 years accompanied by parent) Free / Hortus Conclusus (Italian-style garden on the seventeenth) optional € 2.00
Access to Pantanello Natural Park is only available with a reservation and guided tour (it's mandatory to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org). Individual cost is € 10 and free for children under 11.
HOW TO GET TO NINFA
From Rome-north: Take the S.S.7 Via Appia and at km 60, turn left towards Doganella Ninfa which is about 4 km farther down. Once you pass Doganella, continue for another 2.5 km.
From Rome-south: Take the SS7 Appia, turn right, towards Latina Scalo and continue for about 4.5 km, then turn left and after another 3.5 km you'll get to Doganella of Ninfa. From here follow the road signs to Ninfa.