If you missed it, this was originally written as a guest post for Prayers and Piazza’s – Discover the Park of Monsters with Tourist by Chance
Please make sure to follow Stacy, as she shares her passion for all things Italy, including some great trips to Il Bel Paese.
Also, check out Stacy’s guest post published on September, 19, here on Tourist by Chance – Alberobello & its Trulli | Hidden Treasure in the Heel of Italy’s Boot.
Discover the park of Bomarzo
Welcome to the Parco dei Mostri of Bomarzo, as it is most commonly known. You are entering what was once a park for royalty and the unwinding path leads you to find beautiful, yet bizarre sculptures, often gigantic and monstrous.
Sounds great doesn’t it?!
Villa delle Meraviglie (House of Wonders), Sacro Bosco (Sacred Grove), and Giardini di Bomarzo (Gardens of Bomarzo) are also names given.
A total of 24 sculptures to be admired, including such works as the Casa Pendente (hanging house) and Il Tempio di Eternità (The Temple of Eternity) to name two.
As you step into the park a series of stages ranging between mythology and fantasy, will unfold before you.
Cool Fact: The Hanging House plays some strange effects on your brain, due to the fact that its center of gravity is altered. You may experience dizziness, difficulty maintaining yourself upright and stable, but it is a great feat for those that resist! I also read that this was once the main entrance to the park. Imagine what a trip that must have been!
The Park of Monsters
Asymmetrical and unnaturally elegant, the park was the project of Pirro Ligorio (student of Michelangelo).
You may know him as the architect that completed the Cathedral of St. Peter, after Michelangelo’s death and Villa d’Este, in Tivoli.
Ligoria was commissioned to build this park in the 16th century by Prince Pier Francesco Orsini.
Exactly why the park was built is not 100% certain.
One story is that the sculptures represented an initiatory path of evolution, created with the intent to impress guests of the family.
The other says it was built as a tribute to the late wife of the Prince. A representation of the world, his lost Princess, was facing but with monsters and other creatures – did he think his wife went to hell and not heaven? The mystery continues.
Regardless, one thing that both stories have in common is, it was created with the intent to build a ‘House of Wonders’ that would not only be one of a kind but would stand the test of time.
The Bomarzo Garden Sculptures
This project was so bold, as it required transforming giant blocks of lava stone, that lay inert in the ground, into whimsical sculptures, which for the outside world would simply be oddities.
After the death of the Prince the descendants left the estate and as a result, the park was completely abandoned. Farmers started using the land for cultivation and for grazing on the unkempt grass.
No one seemed interested anymore in understanding the significance of these once symbolic works of art.
Some were moved from their original location or covered in dirt! Ultimately this was the same fate that had befallen on all other sacred groves of the territory.
Though abandoned, the likes of Goethe, Lorrin, Dali (hundreds of years after it was built), visited this once gorgeous park, to describe the symbolisms of this unique garden.
In turn, it started attracting the curiosity of poets, writers, sculptors and used as inspiration.
The Park of Monsters remained in oblivion till 1954 when it was bought by Mr Giovanni Bettini.
Mr and Mrs Bettini brought the park and all its creatures back to life. As recognition for all their hard work, their tombs were laid to rest within the park – just to add to the whole aura.
I highly recommend a visit, as it allows for a break from the hustle and bustle of Rome and you are seeing something quite unique.
Park of Monsters is located near Bomarzo in the province of Viterbo, in the Lazio region of Italy.
Located 90km north of Rome, a car is necessary, as public transportation to the park is a little tricky to say the least.
Details on tickets and opening times, check out the Sacro Bosco website.
If you have any questions on Bomarzo, make sure to contact me or leave a comment below – I will be happy to help!
Make sure to share this article and if you end up visiting, let us know!
Grazie for reading and being a Tourist by Chance
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