The Caetani began to revisit long-abandoned Ninfa towards the end of the 19th century.
In the early 1920s, Gelasio Caetani, with his English-born mother Ada Bootle Wilbraham, began to clear the site, laying out a garden in the Anglo-Saxon romantic style.
They planted the first cypresses, holm oaks, beeches, and roses in large numbers. With this work came restoration of the medieval buildings, including the municipal hall, later to become the family’s country house. The celebrated Pontine marshes were finally drained in 1933.
The creation of the garden was essentially a work of sensitivity and informality, without geometric preconceptions. Marguerite Chapin, Roffredo Caetani’s American-born wife, introduced new species of shrubs and roses, but above all, in the mid-1930s, she opened Ninfa to her circle of writers and artists, many of them associated with Rome-based Botteghe Oscure, the second of her literary reviews.