In 1297 Pope Bonifaciio VIII gifted Ninfa to a relative, Pietro Caetani. Yet, by the late 1300s, warring factions overran the thriving Medieval town, leaving it in ruins.
Today… Ninfa is a landscape where gardens rise up on the site of a once-prominent 8th-century town.
A breathtaking naturalism envelops the visitor to Ninfa. At every turn, the eye rests upon lush greenery, or plentiful vistas of fresh water.
The wistful romanticism of ancient stone walls is not easily captured in words; the stone surfaces a honey-hued canvas for fading frescoes.
Ninfa’s organically maintained gardens are located 20 km from the sea, situated at the base of the Lepini Mountains, and therefore protected from harsh winds. The gardens emerge as an idyllic natural setting. Yet, at the same time, the lush plantings are a resonant reminder of the loving touch and prescient planning of the keen-sighted garden-makers of the past.
The restored castle tower overlooks magnificent architectural evergreen pines, playing off flowering cherries, aristocratic magnolias, and the contorted limbs of mature maples.
The atmosphere feels blessed as you explore pathways, coming upon long vistas of gently meandering streams flanked by an alliance of roses and rhododendrons, self-sown mahonia, and the lavish foliage of gunnera. The eye alights upon a banana grove in a sun-drenched clearing: A microclimate warmed by venerable stone walls and ruins.
There is talk of a project to extend the gardens, creating a spacious nature reserve for the abundant wildlife.