You will find the Gardens of Ninfa in the Lazio region, just 40 miles outside of Rome. They lie at the bottom of the Lepini Mountains. Their atmospheric beauty is famous, and many have found inspiration in this area. In fact, such artists as Virginia Woolf, Truman Capote, and Ungaretti all inspiration for their writings in this area.
The gardens themselves are somewhat of a well-kept secret within Lazio. In the 14th Century, malaria laid waste to the original medieval town. The family who owned it at the time, the Caetani, didn’t return there until the 19th Century. From then onwards began a restoration project. This first transformed it into a romantic ‘English’ garden. In the 20th Century the owners slowly started to transform the land into what we see today.
Upon entering you will see a fairytale landscape. Wisteria, vines, and roses scramble and climb up the walls of medieval ruins. Sprouting up between the remains of a castle, churches, towers, and palazzi you will moreover find all sorts of vivid greenery. The vegetation prospers in the damp environs that benefit from minimal human input. The scene is reminiscent of a Monet painting, especially the glassy lake that enshrouds various seaweeds, and water plants. Small streams that run down the mountain feed this small lake. You can certainly see why a nymph, a spirit that animates nature, carries the namesake of the vibrantly stunning flora that inhabits this space.
The Gardens of Ninfa are not overly accessible. They open only a few weekends a month, April-October. Moreover, they are only accessible via guided tour. The easiest way of arriving is by car. However, despite not being the most easily-accessible of Lazio’s attractions, it is well worth the trip if you can make it. An utterly unique landscape transports visitors into the fairy kingdoms of their childhood!