The Giardino di Ninfa (“Garden of Ninfa”) covers an area of about 8 hectares in the municipality of Cisterna di Latina south of Rome. It is a so-called “English” garden, and was declared a natural monument in 2000. The Garden of Ninfa can be visited only on certain days.
Garden of Ninfa Cisterna di Latina
Opening hours and entrance fee
The Giardino di Ninfa is normally open only at weekends, from late March to early November. Reservation is required. The tours, which last about an hour, leave every 10 minutes. It is forbidden to eat in the park during the tour.
Entrance fee: 15 Euros (plus 0.50 cents booking fee). Free for children under 12. Disabled: 8 Euro. The garden is accessible by wheelchair. Disabled people do not need to book in advance.
History and description
The Garden of Ninfa was laid out in 1921 by Gelasio Caetani. The name derives from the temple dedicated to the Naiads (nymphs of flowing water) on an island in the lake in the garden. The garden is crossed by several streams, including the river Ninfa.
The little bridge over this river is called Ponte del Macello. One explanation for this is that a slaughterhouse (macellaio) is thought to have stood there. A second theory claims that at some point a, probably rather bloody, must have taken place near the bridge.
The ruins of the medieval village of Ninfa on which the garden is laid out provide an additional atmosphere. This town has been destroyed and reconstructed numerous times over the centuries.
The rule over the city of Ninfa was disputed for centuries by the Caetani and Borgia families. It was the former who would finally prevail towards the end of the 19th century.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Gelasio Caetani had the hitherto swampy land drained. He also had some ruins, including the tower, restored and converted into his summer residence. The present Palazzo Baronale, now the seat of the Roffredo Caetani Foundation, is one of the results. He had a lot of help in this from his mother, Aba Wilbraham Caetani.
Many plant species were imported for the creation of the garden. Marguerite Chapin and her daughter Lelia provided further beautification around 1930 by adding 1,300, often non-native, plants. These included ornamental apple trees, Japanese maples, cherry trees, magnolias, hydrangeas, wisteria, plum trees, and huge bamboo plants.
How to reach the Garden of Ninfa
Doganella di Ninfa – Via Provinciale Ninfina, 68 – 04012 Cisterna di Latina.
There is no public transportation to the garden. Both from Rome and Naples, take the train to Latina Scalo. From here it is 10 minutes by cab (+39 0773632292).
For those who come by car there is a large parking lot in front of the entrance. From Rome, follow the SS148 until the Borgo Bainsizza exit. From Naples, follow the A3 until the Frosinone exit.
Although the gardens are open from March to November, April and May, when everything is in bloom, are the best months for a visit.
At the end of the tour you may not walk through the garden without a guide. However, you can visit the Hortus Conclusus afterwards. This is a 17th century garden with a citrus grove and a swan lake.