Il Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo

by Annie
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S_Monster-Park-ManThe idea of a sacred grove is something common to early religions in cultures around the world but sometimes a place is sacred for what it means to the person who lives there. This is the case for a peculiar 16th century garden known as Il Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo. This Monster Park is composed of the sculptural work of Pier Francesco Orsini (1528-1588) and built near the Orsini Castle near Bomarzo, in the province of Viterbo.

The park, hidden in the middle of a woods, showcases gigantic, moss-covered mannerist sculptures (sometimes carved out of living rock) which are inspired from such literary works as Orlando Furioso (Ariosto) and Virgil’s Aeneid. Meant to astound and take the viewer’s imagination for a ride, its mix of mythological and fantastic characters was created in honor of S_Monster-Park-WomanOrsini’s beloved wife, Giulia Farnese when she passed away. The Bettini family then lovingly restored the sacred grove during the 1970s.

The world “rediscovered” this magical place after the painter Salvator Dalí visited it in 1948. Many others followed and so can you…with a little determination. First take the train to the Attigliano-Bomarzo station and then walk, by foot, 10 kilometers uphill along a highway and then down. Even though the park is open all year, you should call beforehand: (39) (0)761924029.

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Photos courtesy of Melissa Sandoval. Many thanks!!

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