Travel highlight: Giardino di Ninfa

Travel Highlight: Giardino di Ninfa

*click photos to enlarge

These beautiful gardens were the perfect Saturday afternoon getaway with friends. Classified as a natural historic monument, they’re located about an hour and half from Rome in the province of Latina. An oasis of exotic plant life, these English-style gardens are home to the remains of the ancient city of Ninfa, which was a rich community on the Appian Way during the Middle Ages.

The nearby town of Sermoneta is the definition of classic medieval charm and well worth a walk-through, regardless of whether a visit the gardens is on the agenda. We’ll certainly be back when we have more time than just for a quick lunch. And apparently it’s not all that well kept of a secret, judging from the generous amount of fancy Nikons snapping away… As usual in Italy, there’s always another unique town around the corner worth discovering.

Travel highlight: Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

Travel highlight: Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio

This little jewel of a town is the stuff Italian dreams are made of.  It’s a cross between walking into a time machine and stepping onto a set of the most picturesque Italian scene you could ever imagine – except it’s no facade and certainly not Disneyland; it’s real, and absolutely gorgeous.

Located about 90km Northwest of Rome, in the province of Viterbo, it’s one of the best discoveries we’ve made so close to home and reminds us of how important it is to explore this area.

Appearing to be suspended in the middle of a valley, the town is only accessible on foot, or by motorino.  It takes about 20-30 minutes and it’s all uphill, but well worth the trek.  It was founded by the Etruscans twenty-five hundred years ago, and it’s population is currently all of fifteen residents.

In ancient times it was called Novempagi and Balneum Regium, before becoming known as Bagnorea in medieval times.  It was taken several times by barbarians between the sixth and ninth centuries, and was once a Papal State.  It’s also famous for being the birthplace of the philosopher St. Bonaventure in the 13th century.

Enjoy a glimpse of our visit a few months ago.