The Garden of Ninfa

One of the most beautiful gardens in Europe

For its own protection, the historical Garden of Ninfa was declared a Natural Monument by the Lazio Region in 2000.

History and creation of the Garden of Ninfa

The name Ninfa derives from a Roman temple built near the current garden and dedicated to the water deities.

Ninfa was part of a larger territory called Campagna and Marittima. In the 8th century it became part of the papal administration and had a strategic role due to its position on the foothill route or via pedemontana which connected Rome and Naples and was used by travellers during periods when the Via Appian was flooded.

From the 11th century the town of Ninfa was governed by various noble families such as the Conti di Tuscolo and the Frangipani, under whom the town’s architecture flourished and the economic and political importance of Ninfa grew: in 1159 Cardinal Rolando Bandinelli was crowned Alexander III in the church of Santa Maria Maggiore, the ruins of which are visible today.

In 1298 Benedetto Caetani, Pope Bonifacio VIII, bought Ninfa and other neighbouring territories for his nephew Pietro II Caetani, marking the beginning of the presence of the Caetani family in the Pontine region. The small feudal proprietors of Ninfa were persuaded to sell their holdings to the Caetani for 200,000 gold florins.

In 1382 Ninfa was sacked and destroyed by the troops supporting the anti-Pope in the Great Schism.

The city was never again rebuilt, also because of the malaria that infested the nearby plain, the few remaining inhabitants left leaving behind the remains of a ghost town; the Caetani themselves moved to Rome and elsewhere.

The churches continued to be officiated by the inhabitants of the nearby hills throughout the 15th century and in part of the 16th century, and then abandoned. Today the ruins of five churches can be seen whose frescoes were detached in 1971 to be kept in the Caetani castle of Sermoneta: San Giovanni, San Biagio, San Pietro Fuori le Mura, San Salvatore and Santa Maria Maggiore.

In the 16th century, Cardinal Nicolò III Caetani, a lover of botany, created a ‘garden of delights’ at Ninfa that included a walled garden, hortus conclusus, situated next to the medieval castle.  Today, original features of the walled garden, for example fish ponds and ornamental fountains, can still be seen. 

In the late 17th century,  Duke Francesco Caetani IV, a Prince ‘no less good at governing flowers than men’, made efforts to restore the walled garden, cultivating fashionable tulips and rare citrus varieties, including the Citrus Cajetanus.

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.

The last heir and Caetani gardener was Lelia, daughter of Roffredo and Marguerite. A sensitive woman, she took exquisite care of the garden. Being a painter, she visualised its development and colours in painterly terms. She liked things to be natural, so banned the use of chemical herbicides. Together with her mother, she introduced numerous magnolias, prunus, climbing roses. She also created the rock garden.

In 1972, five years before her death, Donna Lelia established the Roffredo Caetani Foundation to preserve the memory of the Caetani family and conserve the garden of Ninfa and the nearby Caetani castle in Sermoneta.

About the flora and fauna

of the Garden of Ninfa

In the garden of Ninfa there are cherry and ornamental apple trees that bloom spectacularly in spring, varieties of deciduous magnolias, birches, marsh iris and a sensational variety of Japanese maples.

8

Hectares of extension

1300

Plants introduced in the garden

100

Birds registered

Visit the Garden of Ninfa

The Garden of Ninfa can be visited on the days it is open to the public by booking on the website www.giardinodininfa.eu.
Organized groups can visit the garden outside the dates indicated on the site by booking a guided tour by writing to the email ingressoninfa@frcaetani.it.
The garden is open to schools with guided tours in March, April and May.

Public opening days

Booking and purchase of the visit fee are mandatory on the website www.giardinodininfa.eu

OPENING DAYS 2022

MARCH 19,20,26,27
APRIL 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30
MAY 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29
JUNE 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26
JULY 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31
AUGUST 6, 7, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 27, 28
SEPTEMBER 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25
OCTOBER 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30
NOVEMBER 1

Entrance contribution

Adults  (€ 0,75 online pre-booking) € 15,00
Children under 12 years old accompanied by an adult Free
Visitors with a disability, payment on arrival € 8,00

photography-course-ninfa

 

Organized Groups

Groups, minimum of 25 participants, can visit the Garden of Ninfa any day of the year. Booking is necessary.

Groups who want to book on days that are NOT scheduled must send the request to the booking office via email: ingressoninfa@frcaetani.it

In the request please specify the day, the number of participants and provide a telephone number that can also be contacted on the day of visit.

On the same day it is also possible to visit the Caetani Castle in Sermoneta or the Pantanello Park, the latter only in the autumn and winter season, being open from October to March.

Entrance contribution

Groups minimum 25 pax € 12,00 pp.
Children under 12 years old** Free

* Groups consisting of fewer than 25 participants (including minors) must guarantee a total entrance fee of € 300.00
** Accompanied by an adult

Payment can be madre on spot or by bank transfer. We inform you that the payment by bank transfer will not be refundable in case of missed visit. The contributions are per person and outside the days of opening to the public.

Elderly Centers

Groups organized by senior centers, consisting of a minimum of 45 participants, can visit the Garden of Ninfa any day of the year.
Reservations are required by sending an email to the booking office: ingressoninfa@frcaetani.it
In the request specify the day, the number of participants and please, for organizational purposes, provide a telephone number that can also be contacted on the day of the visit.
On the same day it is also possible to visit the Caetani Castle of Sermoneta, reservations for groups by writing to the email castello@frcaetani.it.

Entrance contribution

Gruops minimum 45 pax* € 8,00 pp.

* Groups of elderly centers composed of fewer than 45 participants must guarantee a total entrance fee of € 360.00.

Payment can be made on spot or by bank transfer. We inform you that the payment by bank transfer will not be refundable in case of missed visit. The contributions are per person and outside the days of opening to the public.

Schools

Guided tours for schools take place in the months of March, April and May.

To book, write to ingressoninfa@frcaetani.it
The guided tour lasts approximately 45 minutes. At the end of the guided tour it is not possible to stay inside the Garden.

 

. once the day of the visit has been agreed, it is not possible to move the entrance from morning to afternoon, or vice versa, without prior notice
. specify the number of participants, including adults, at the booking offices
. a copy of the bank transfer must be sent to the booking office strictly 5 / five days before the booked visit, under penalty of entering the last morning shift or the last afternoon shift
. upon arrival, report to the reception desk staff, located in the parking lot, near the entrance area, who will notify you of the exact entry time. We remind you that guided tours are managed according to the order of arrival
. the Garden opens at 9 am. As far as possible, we recommend arriving in the early opening hours.
. we recommend that you wear a sun hat, comfortable shoes, and bring a water bottle. In case of rain umbrella and k-way
. inside the Garden, please use a moderate tone of voice and behave in a manner appropriate to the environment you are visiting
. it is forbidden to bring balloons, collect flowers or plants inside the Garden

 

Schoolchildren entrance contribution

Student guide included* € 6,00 pp.
Disabled Free
Parents  € 9,00
3 teachers every 25 pax Free

Reservations are required by contacting the following office at the email address ingressoninfa@frcaetani.it with which it will be possible to agree on the day, the number of participants and please, for organizational purposes, provide the telephone number of a teacher who will accompany the class the day of the visit.
The booking office will communicate the bank details to make the payment.

We inform you that in case of no visit, the transfer will not be refundable.

 At the entrance of the Garden, a refreshment point will always be available for lunch. Reservations are recommended tel. +39 3515626270.

Groups visiting the garden of Ninfa outside official public openings days can also book a visit the Caetani Castle of Sermoneta or Pantanello Park, the latter only during the autumn and winter season, being open from October to March.

No Drone Zone

No Drone ZoneThe Roffredo Caetani Foundation informs that it is forbidden to send drones on the entire area of Garden of Ninfa being a private property.

Entrance and Visit

  • admission is regulated exclusively by guided tours
  • the tour, during the COVID-19 pandemy, lasts about 60 minutes and at its end it is not possible to stay in the Garden
  • guided tours are guaranteed even in case of rain
  • Baby strollers or prams are allowed, but keep an eye out for low branches or protruding roots, stones or rocks.

In the Garden

  • Inside the garden it is not possible to have a picnic lunch or a picnic
  • Dogs are allowed as long as they do not exceed 5kg in weight, on a short leash and owners should be equipped with special hygienic bags. The Management has been obliged to implement this limitation due to the inappropriate behavior of the owners of the dogs that have occurred in the past.

Garden of Ninfa

Doganella di Ninfa
Via Provinciale Ninfina, 68
04012
Cisterna di Latina (LT)
ITALIA

The Garden of Ninfa has a wide parking for cars, coaches and campers.