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Book: Ninfa in Winter by Gretchen Kromer

Book: Ninfa in Winter by Gretchen Kromer

categories: Book, Gardens, Medieval Town, Parco Pantanello, Medieval Architecture, Caetani, Ninfa, Italy, Pontine Plain, Winter Gardens, Landscape Photography


Gretchen Kromer

Author Gretchen Kromerabout this book: If you inherited a ruined medieval town what would you do with it? The Caetani family transformed the remains of Ninfa into an extraordinary garden. Ninfa, which is about forty miles southeast of Rome, lies in the shadow of the Lepini Mountains at the edge of the Pontine Plain.

In 1971 I first visited the garden with a group from the American Academy in Rome where I then had a fellowship in Classical Studies. On a hot summer day in August the garden was green and lush, with roses climbing up the walls of a ruined church and and a giant stand of bamboo beside a river of clear water. I thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen.

Almost thirty years later, no longer a classicist, I wanted to see what Ninfa would be like in the fall and winter months. During five separate visits I made a series of black and white photographs in order to reveal the structure and underlying character of this remarkable place. Ninfa and the surrounding area had a troubled history; war, poverty, and malaria caused great hardship for the local population and left their mark on the landscape. Ninfa in Winter illustrates the complex interactions between people and the environment in this fascinating region of Italy.


From Kirkus Reviews (read the full review, PDF):

"A remarkable collection of black-and-white photographs featuring a unique garden in the Italian countryside."

"In some of the images, the interplay of landscape, water, foliage and historic structures conveys a meditative stillness, while other photos display a sort of shimmering quality despite the lack of color. Each photograph stands alone on an entire page for a captivating visual display, though the written passages constitute an integral, contextualizing element that's laudable in its own right."

"An impressive work that achieves an admirable balance between text and image."

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