The Garden of Ninfa
A few steps from the capital, between Norma and Sermoneta, is guarded one of the most precious natural treasures of our country: the Garden of Ninfa, which owes its name to a small temple of the Roman era dedicated to the Nymphs Naiadis located on a small island small lake. The garden is in fact crossed by many rivers and rises on the remains of the ancient medieval town that have become an integral part. A natural oasis created by the Caetani family on the ruins of the medieval town of Ninfa, repeatedly rebuilt and fought over for years between the Borgia family and the Caetani family. Declared Natural Monument by the Lazio Region in 2000 in order to protect the historical garden of international fame, Ninfa extends for 8 hectares of greenery with over 1300 plant species, crossed by several streams including the river Ninfa and bathed by a lake mirror with some islets.
The Caetani family therefore returned to the territory in the area only at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the following century Galasio Gaetani reclaimed the land, restoring some ruins to make it a summer residence, such as the baronial palace, today the offices of the Roffredo Caetani Foundation. Created in 1921, the Garden acquires the romantic and spontaneous charm that distinguishes it only in 1930, thanks to the sensibility of the wife of Roffredo Caetani, Marguerite Chapin and then of the daughter Lelia who took care of its appearance. The realization of the garden was guided above all by sensitivity and feeling, following a free, spontaneous, informal direction, without established geometry. Marguerite introduced new species of shrubs and roses, but above all, in the thirties of the twentieth century, she opened the doors of the Garden to the circle of writers and artists linked to the magazines she founded, "Commerce" and "Botteghe Oscure". The Garden acquired the well-known English configuration, with a green space in which several different elements found and still find union and harmony and thus becoming an enchanted place, distinguished by great historical and artistic value, within which they still find magnificent specimens of cherry and ornamental apple trees that bloom spectacularly in spring, varieties of deciduous magnolias, birches, marsh iris and a sensational variety of Japanese maples.
To preserve the delicate environmental balance of the oasis, the Caetani Foundation has established guidelines for visits. The Garden of Ninfa is in fact open to the public only in certain periods of the year and on certain dates and it is possible to walk in the Garden only through guided tours, lasting one hour, which take place from April to October. On selected days, guided tours depart every 10 minutes, welcoming a maximum of 300 visitors per entry. For organized groups, schools or senior centers it is possible to agree, instead, with the Foundation of special admissions, by booking outside the official opening dates to the public.
For 2018, visits can no longer be carried out, which will resume in 2019 and whose dates will be disclosed in January. For information on the next openings it is advised to consult the official website dedicated to the Oasis: www.giardinodininfa.eu