The Bomarzo Monster Park looks more like something out of Pan’s Labyrinth than a quintessential 16th century garden. This ghoulish park lies just north from Rome in the Tuscia region and features over a dozen larger-than-life sculptures fully immersed in the wooded valley. The park is rife with symbolism and inspired surrealist artists such as Salvador Dalí and Jacques Cousteau.
Prince Pier Francesco Orsini commissioned architect Pirro Ligorio to design the ghoulish park in 1552 as a way of coping with the death of his wife Giulia Farnese. The Sacro Bosco is intended to surprise and agitate its visitors, rather than delight them – arguably bringing them closer to the human sensations of grief and anguish associated with loss.
As you wander through the park you’ll see over-sized mythological figures, moss-covered historic characters, monstrous animals and monuments. Hannibal’s elephant, Aphrodite, bears, sirens and a dragon all make an appearance here, along with a tilted house and memorial memorial to Giulia Farnese. The most famous statue is the mouth of Orcus, god of the underworld, with the words “Ogni Pensiero Vola” (Every Thought Flies) written above it, a nod to the fact that anything uttered inside the cave reverberates and can be heard by those outside it.
“And all other marvels prized before by the world yield to the Sacred Wood that resembles only itself and nothing else.”
Sacro Bosco di Bomarzo
Parco dei Mostri Località Giardino, 01020 Bomarzo VT
Tickets are €10
+39 0742 90426