The gardens of Ninfa, in the province of Latina, is said to be the most beautiful and romantic gardens in Italy and possibly the world. The gardens contains ancient ruins from the classical times of ancient Rome, known as Ninfa which gives its name to the area. It is also connected to nymphs which according to myth lived within this expanse of land in nearby springs, rivers, trees, mountains and valleys, there was also a temple built here that was sacred to the nymphs.
In modern times medieval ruins from the 11-12th century are still visible throughout the gardens containing a castle, church of Santa Maria Maggiore, cottages, mills, a town hall and towers. With a multitude of lovely flowers, plants & trees that grow amongst the old ruins with breathtaking scenery, and moss covering many of the ancient buildings & archways followed by roses, arum lilies, jasmine as well as tropical and native species.
The gardens of Ninfa covers an area of 150 hectares and is a natural monument of Italy with approximately 152 bird species which was constructed from 1921 by Gelasio Caetani, (one of five sons of Onorato Caetani the 14th duke of Sermoneta) and with the help of his mother Ada Bootle- Wilbrahaan a lady from England who introduced English roses to the grounds, as well as his brother Roffredo.
Gelasio on his travels also brought many different plant species with him and planted them in the gardens including a large variety of roses, (climbing, musk roses, bushes & hybrids), numerous trees such as cedar, birch, Japanese maples, walnut, apple & smoke tree (coggygria) as well as flowering plants such as catalpa, magnolia, and yucca.
The garden consists of small springs and also a river known as the river Ninfa to the south with water iris and along the bank clusters of hazelnut, silver maple and American tulip trees.
A borgo or medieval moat & draw bridge has many water birds such as ducks & swans and masses of Arum lilies that surround the moat, with the ruins of the castle from the 12th century and magnolia stellata trailing around it at the entrance and a courtyard with trees and grapefruit.
The main pathway has lavender plants and a wide range of trees that include cypress trees, cherry trees, Mexican pine, banana and Himalayan pine which adds colour & beauty to the surroundings with the wide range of oranges purples & reds combined with the green shades of the lawn.
There is also a cluster of bamboo in one area of the gardens and a rock garden with flowering plants consisting of California poppies, veronica, a climbing clematis armandii and hydrangea, bright yellow flowers of Aurinia saxatillis, granny’s bonnet (aguilegia) among others.