The history of the Garden of Ninfa, in Cisterna di Latina, started in 1921 after a long time of silence. In that year, Gelasio Caetani reclaimed the area, renovated the ancient ruins, and planted various botanical species that he had collected during his trips abroad. Later, during the 1930s, Gelasio’s descendants gave Ninfa the English structure that connotes it to this day. In 2000, “The New York Times” stated this natural monument was the most beautiful garden in the world.
This is a place with a long story, with roots driving down into Roman times: a Classical-era temple dedicated to the nymphs is likely at the origin of the site’s name. The area developed as an urban center from the 8th century. In the Late Middle Ages it become the property of various noble families, until in 1297 it was purchased by the Caetanis. After a devastating ransack in 1381, the whole village was destroyed by pickaxe, never to be rebuilt.
But in the early 1920s, the revival began. Ornamental apple trees, Japanese maples, hickory trees, red beeches, roses, drooping cherry trees, banana trees, acacias and dozens of other plants from around the world flourished in the eight acres that stretch around the remains of the old abandoned town.
Thus Ninfa’s long silence was interrupted by the unstoppable silence of nature.