Some places are so improbably beautiful
Knowing that we will never deal with the experience in rational terms. Nor take away more than a pale recollection of what we have seen and felt.
We are in Ninfa - in the Province of Latina, barely an hour's drive south of Rome. In the lowlands between the Lepini Mountains and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
In the fourteenth century, Ninfa was a flourishing walled city with a castle, at least fifteen churches and thousands of inhabitants. It dominated the principal coastal road between Rome and the South (the former Appian Way).
Then, the Pontine Marshes re-emerged after generations of neglect, bringing the scourge of malaria. The inhabitants fled to the nearby hill towns of Norma, Cori and Sermoneta. And by the seventeenth century, Ninfa remained a haunted realm of deadly contagion and dark legend.
The ultimate result - heart-stoppingly gorgeous and utterly over-the-top - is exactly what was intended. And we respond in all the predictable ways...
We run from place to place... We take far too many photographs (few of which turn out)... We do silly things...
Under the weight of so many layers of history.
Reminding ourselves that we are still alive.
More Vanished Peoples? See: