As pure fantasy, this garden is without equal.
It was made in a wood and many of its giant
sculptures were carved from living rock.
Stylistically, Bomarzo represents a step towards the
drama of the Baroque.
Poking gentle fun at the egotistical iconography of
the Este and the Medici families, it is also a pre-cursor
of the English landscape garden. With the elegant
taste of a renaissance duke, Vincino Orsini created
features with some resemblence to those in a modern
theme park. But his aims were altogether serious.
Orsini was a military captain with literary tastes.
He conceived the garden as a Sacred Wood (Sacro Bosso),
inspired by the description of Arcadia in Virgil's Aeneid.
There is an enormous laughing mask. A moss-covered
tortoise supports a statue of fame.
A leaning house illustrates the corrupt state of the world.
A stone dragon sits beside an oversized Etruscan vase.
The figures came from Ariosto's Orlando Furioso.
The garden reaches its culmination in a Temple of
Divine Love. The Sacro Bosso does not appear in
pre-1950 books on Italian gardens.
Public interest revived after an enthusiastic visit by
the surrealist painter Salvator Dali in 1948.
The park was born in 1552 as "Villa of Wonders"
to be the only one of it's kind in the world.
The Park of Monsters remained in oblivion till 1954
when it was bought by Mr Giovanni Bettini who with
loving care has managed it.
A visit to the park will unfold in a series of stages
ranging between mythology and fantasy.
They have individuated 24 works of art even though
many more are contained in the park.
Address - Parco dei Mostri, Bomarzo, Lazio, Italy
Opening times - All year, Open 8.30 am to dusk
Admission - Entrance fee
Website - Visit the Sacro Bosco/Villa Orsini website