In the Middle Ages, Ninfa was popular as a village in which to rest on the journey from Rome to Naples. It was a green oasis in a dry region at the foot of the arid Lepini Hills. But the village was ruined by civil war during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. A formal garden was made in the seventeenth century and decendents of the family which had long owned the village began making a picturesque botanical collection in the 1900s. Planting is framed by the ruins and ancient streets have been used as avenues. Streams from the mountains, which once supplied the village, have become a feature of the garden. The river was dedicated to nymphs in Roman times and gives the garden its name.