The Garden of Ninfa

Jan Fiore

The story of Il Giardino di Ninfa (The Garden of the Nymph) began in 1297 when the Caetani family purchased the fortified town of Ninfa, located a few miles from Rome, the capital and cultural heartland of Italy. Founded in the eighth century, the town thrived for 600 years before a violent siege sacked and completely destroyed Ninfa in 1381. What remained of the abandoned town and castle fell into ruin; streets became covered in undergrowth, and over time the tiny Roman temple that once stood at the edge of the garden, sank into the lake bed. The site that has belonged to the Roman Caetani family since the thirteenth century lay undisturbed for the next 500 years, until three exceptional gardeners of this century reincarnated Ninfa, and created the “most romantic garden in the world.”