Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. the Gardens of Ninfa

Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. the Gardens of Ninfa

Article excerpt

I've just been given a personal tour of Ninfa by Monty Don. True, I had to share the thinking woman's TV gardener with a number of others, but I'm convinced his attention was focused solely on me.

The occasion was a visit to three outstanding gardens outside Rome -- Ninfa, Villa d'Este and Landriana -- to celebrate a quarter-century of Gardeners' World magazine in the company of its editor, Lucy Hall. Monty was an added inducement for the tour of Ninfa, after which he was to give a talk on the evolution of Italian gardens.

Rather like a gentleman's club, Ninfa satisfies one's inner snob. The eight-hectare garden, within 105 hectares of parkland 40 miles south-east of Rome, is open to the public for a handful of days each year. Thereafter visits are restricted to groups who book well in advance. Once inside the gardens, the official guide is God, and the route is fixed.

So what makes Ninfa worth the effort, especially now, a time of year when the garden is not, Monty assures us, at its best? Well, even though the celebrated roses have been and gone, and the one herbaceous border is nothing a Brit couldn't muster, the structure of Ninfa stops the breath and has rightly won it the title of 'most romantic garden in the world'.

The garden as we know it was created in 1921, but there has been an outpost at Ninfa since Roman times. The settlement had its share of disasters (its inhabitants succumbed to malaria in the 17th century), but in its heyday in the 12th century Ninfa had 150 houses, seven churches, a castle, a town hall, and several mills and bridges. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.