In 2010 New York Times called it the most beautiful and the most romantic garden of the world. Now, in late spring, lights and colors lighting up the ruins, bridges and pools of spring water give the Garden of Ninfa in the country of Cisterna di Latina in Lazio a particular charm. Open to the public every Sunday in April and May, it is a small naturalistic masterpiece of eight hectares created on the ruins of the medieval town of Ninfa, where over 1,300 plants are disseminated, including Japanese maples, roses, magnolia and iris.
When visiting the garden not only the sight is involved, but the other senses too, from smell to hearing. Walking through paths and hidden places you are intoxicated by the scent of the flowers of this garden that, in 2000 was declared a natural monument of the Lazio Region and is the result of the work of three women linked to the Caetani family, who has been the owner for more than 90 years. Ada Wilbrahaim, Marguerite Chapin and her daughter Leila looked after this space crossed by a river that is home to hollies, cypresses, cedars, plane trees, ornamental cherry trees and now, in the month of May, of 200 different varieties of roses. The river is surrounded by calla lilies and magnolias but our attention is immediately captured by the enormous leaves of the Gunnera plant native of South America and perfectly adapted here thanks to the damp ground: they look like huge outstretched hands on the crystalline water of the little lakes formed by the cold spring water of the Ninfa river that gives its name to the garden now owned by the Foundation “Roffredo Caetani”.
The hearing is involved by the chirping of the 152 acknowledged bird species including raptors like the peregrine falcons, wading birds like herons and sparrows. In fact, in 1976 a protected area has been established around the garden, that can visited with the assistance of the Foundation, WWF and the LIPU.
Entering this magical, green, romantic and very English landscape which is also dramatic and full of history, is like exploring a little magical world. To preserve the delicate environmental balance, it is open to the public only a few days a year. Visit the website www.fondazionecaetani.org.
Garden of Ninfa
Strada Provinciale Ninfina 68 – Cisterna di Latina
– Guided tours only, booking is not required, departures every ten minutes at 12 €
– The guided tour takes about an hour
– Dogs are allowed provided they do not exceed 5 kg in weight, on a short leash and carrying the appropriate disposal bags.
(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)