Why and how to visit the Gardens of Ninfa near Rome 2019
If you’re looking for the official opening times for 2019 for the Gardens of Ninfa in Italy’s Lazio region, you’ve come to the right place.
This guide to visiting the Gardens of Ninfa includes the official opening days and entry hours 2019 for Ninfa from the official website, as well as up-to-date entry prices for this horticultural marvel.
Please note, that due to the delicate nature of the habitat, you can’t just buy entry to the gardens and walk around yourself. You are obliged to go round with a guide on a fixed tour which lasts about 50 minutes.
Tours of the garden leave at set times throughout the day, usually on the hour. Full timetable at the bottom of the post. The tours are all in Italian, except for two daily English language tours of the Gardens of Ninfa, detailed below.
Read on for everything you need to know about how to visit Ninfa, and even more importantly, why you should visit the Gardens of Ninfa!
Hotels near the Gardens of Ninfa – Top hotels near Ninfa
B&B Stazione Latina is a modern hotel property near Latina Scalo railway station, just 3.2 km from the Gardens of Ninfa. Rooms have private bathrooms and balconies. Ideal if you don’t have a car! Doubles from €41
Tenuta le Pantanelle is an attractive, rustic stay in Latina just 3.5 km from Ninfa. Cosy and quiet with a great on-site restaurant. Doubles from €42
Casale Cavatella is a farmhouse stay in stunning Sermoneta, another unmissable town in the area. One of the best value properties in Sermoneta, it’s just 2.9 km from Ninfa. Doubles from €28
LeLive Sermoneta is a truly stunning property in the centre of Sermoneta, contrasting golden, rustic stonework with state-of-the-art facilities. Gorgeous hotel. Doubles from €70
How to visit the Gardens of Ninfa: an introduction to Ninfa
I don’t know about you, but when someone suggests going to visit an ornamental garden, I must admit I usually stifle a yawn. Maybe my English heritage means that I just take great gardens for granted: maybe it’s an appreciation you grow into. That said, I have just one exhortation to make: whoever you are, go and visit the Gardens of Ninfa in Latina, south of Rome.
I actually happened upon the privately-run Gardens of Ninfa by chance, which is a pretty tricky thing to do: they are only open on select weekend dates from March through to November (see details below).
I was accompanying a photographer who was shooting the garden for an upcoming book, so we had the privilege of entering before the crowds, early in the morning. With no expectations, I was stunned to stumbled upon a medieval ghost town, with crumbling houses, bridges and the shell of a centuries old church, open to the sky and the wind, improbably filled with flowers.
In and around the mossy ruins, roses clamber over fairytale arches, while the former moat of the medieval borgo is planted with hundreds of Arum lilies.
How to visit Ninfa: the history of the Gardens of Ninfa
It looks like a love story between nature and the past, and it is; although the two have been conjoined by human hands.
In the 1920s, the Caetani family, ancient feudal lords in Ninfa, started landscaping the long-deserted town with a unique, English vision marrying architectural ruins with the irrepressible life of flora.
English because the inspiration came from Ada Wilbraham, British wife of the then Prince Onorato Caetani. She had evidently inherited the Victorian fascination with the medieval, and approached the project with a poet’s eye.
In its design, there’s also an almost Wordsworthian appreciation of the transforming power of nature, as climbing roses and mosses re-roof crumbling cottages, while shimmering jasmine vines light up broken windows with tiny white stars.
The fast-flowing brook that courses through the 150 acre garden is a brilliant, emerald green, radiating with the life of the waterbed and bubbling with brown trout.
How to visit Ninfa: visiting the Gardens of Ninfa in 2019
Now, some of the medieval buildings have been lovingly restored, and are in part home to the curator and his family, who run the gardens on behalf of the Roffredo Caetani Foundation.
Principessa Lelia Caetani left no heirs, but established a fund for the eternal care of Ninfa in the 1970s. It looks like it’s in good hands.
The Gardens of Ninfa are only open a handful of days a year, so sadly, expect crowds if you visit; guided tours are compulsory to ensure that visitors respect the delicate habitat.
On the tour, however, you learn about the history of Ninfa and its botany, with everything from tropical plants to indigenous trees like the Magnolia and lofty Cypress, as well as antique roses brought from England by the Caetani clan.
There has been a settlement here in the shadow of Monti Lepini since the days of the pre-Roman Volsci tribe, which subsequently became a rich merchant stop-off along the Appian Way in the Middle Ages.
But warring popes and the arrival of malaria from nearby marshes brought Ninfa to its knees in later years, and by the 16th century, the town had been completely abandoned.
Now it teems with life again, home to more than 150 species of birds and thousands of rare trees and plants in a unique paradise shaped by man. Oddly enough, it seems like a fitting destiny.
What’s new at Ninfa in 2019?
For 2019, the Gardens of Ninfa and the Fondazione Caetani have a new logo to reflect the fact that they have been registered as trade marks. This is designed to help protect gift shop goodies and the official tour to make sure visitors are getting only the real deal.
There’s also a brand new horticultural appointment, dubbed ‘Ninfa nelle stagioni’ – Ninfa across the seasons – which is a unique package of four tickets to visit Ninfa on four exclusive dates throughout the four seasons. Garden enthusiasts will love this opportunity to also see Ninfa in the winter, as this was previously off-limits. These special packages are very limited and include all four dates – you can’t buy them singly. The dates for the 4 seasons of Ninfa are Saturday 11 May 2019, Sunday 14 July 2019, Sunday 24 November 2019, and Sunday 23 February 2020.
The Gardens of Ninfa are also introducing literary appointments, which will see live readings (in Italian) from authors who have been inspired by the Gardens of Ninfa. The dates for these events are currently 20 April 2019, 25 May 2019, 22 June 2019, 20 July 2019, 24 August 2019, 21 September 2019, and 19 October 2019.
Essential information for visiting the Gardens of Ninfa: How to visit the Gardens of Ninfa 2019
How to get to the Gardens of Ninfa 2019: I would advise you to go by car. Allow about an hour and a quarter from Rome. It’s signposted quite poorly, but you essentially take the via Pontina south to the town of Cisterna in the province of Latina, and then head towards Norma. Google maps essential.
If you don’t fancy doing this, you can book trips from Rome with reputable tour companies, but you will pay a significant charge for the trip.
Ninfa entrance fee 2019: €15 per adult, children under 11 go free. Disabled visitors €8 (payment on site only). Adult tickets can now be purchased online, in advance and include the obligatory guided tour. The online booking fee is €0.50 per person. Click here to buy tickets for Ninfa.
Do I need to book a tour or can I visit Ninfa by myself? Due to the delicate nature of the gardens of Ninfa, unfortunately you can’t just buy an entry ticket and wander round by yourself. You have to join an official guided tour which departs more on less on the hour on the days the garden is open. The tours last about 50 minutes. All the tours are in Italian apart from two daily tours in English. Details below.
How to visit Ninfa: Official opening times Ninfa 2019
Days open and opening times 2019:
April: 6, 7, 14, 21, 22, 25, 28
May: 1, 4, 5, 12, 19, 26
June: 1, 2, 16
July: 6, 7, 21
August: 3, 4, 15
September: 7, 8
October: 5, 6
Literary Saturdays 2019 (readings in Italian of authors inspired by Ninfa):
20 April, 25 May, 22 June, 20 July, 24 August, 21 September, 19 October
The four seasons of Ninfa 2019 (special package of four tickets):
11 May, 14 July, 24 November 2019, 23 February 2020
Opening hours Ninfa 2019:
April – May – June: 9.00 – 12.00 14.30 – 18.00
July – August – September: 9.00 – 12.00 15.00 – 18.30
October – November: 9.00 – 12,00 14.00 – 16.00
Hours of the tours:
9.00, 10.00, 11.00, 14.30, 15.00, 16.00, 17.00.
The ticket office is open from 9.00-12.00, then 14.30-18.00 in the spring; expect slight variations in high summer (open 15.00-18.30 in the afternoons) and the autumn when it closes at 16.00. Buying tickets online is advised to avoid disappointment as visitor numbers per day are capped.
English language tours: During public opening days bilingual guided tours (English / Italian) start at 10.30 and at 15.50.
English-speaking visitors wishing to tour with a bilingual guide should be at the main entrance before the tour departs (according to the site, ideally at 9.30 or 14.30, to avoid disappointment.)
Buy tickets online via the official site here.
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© Rome blogger Isobel Lee