Tip for a trip: the Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo 07Apr2015

Tip for a trip: the Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo

Written byRenata Jirasova07 Apr. 2015

What is the "Sacro Bosco of Bomarzo"?

The Sacro Bosco (Sacred wood), also called the parco dei Mostri (the park of the Monsters) or Garden of Bomarzo is an astonishing forest park, a masterpiece created in years 1522-80 from the hand of a noble patron, the duke Pier Francesco Orsini (called Vicino Orsini).  

This bizzare monumental complex including gigantic allegorical animals, monsters and figures, leaning buildings and waterfall was created in the Manneristic style when prince Orsini was madly in love with his wife Giulia Farnese (her maternal grandmother also named Giulia Farnese was the mistress of Pope Alexander VI). Twenty years later, when his wife died, he dedicated her this piece of work, including the Temple, which is also situated in this park. Later, in the 19th and 20th century, the Sacro Bosco was abandoned and neglicted because of the lack of heirs. In 1970´s, thanks to the Bettini Family, who implemented a program of restoration, Italy still owns this work of art and we can enjoy walking in this „Wonderland“.    

How to get to the Sacro Bosco?

The park Sacro Bosco is located in northern Lazio (Italy), about 100 km out of Rome, in town Bomarzo, in the immediate vicinity of the nice historic city Viterbo. The easiest way to go there is by car from Rome via A1 highway (there is a highway toll), in the direction of Firenze (Florence). If there is no heavy traffic you will reach the park approx. in 1 hour and 15 minutes.  

Entrance Adult Fee: 10 EUR, parking for free The enormous head of the Ogre (alteration of "Orcus"), one of the names of the king of the Underworld, symbolised the entrance of the Underworld as Dante´s paraphrase "Every thought flies away". Inside of the mouth it looks like a tavern - there are stone table and benches.

The head of the Ogre in 1952, the photo was took by Herbert List (a German photographer, 1903-1975) Not only Pisa can boast by the "Leaning Tower". Also the duke Vicino Orsini had created the Crooked House on a Leaning Rock. It looks impressively but you can´t stay inside too long, in a few minutes you will feel incredibly dizzy and sick.

Apparently not only the Tower is crooked in the Sacro Bosco. You can find there also the Leaning Stone Bench.

The struggle between Giants, between the good and the evil. Hercules standing while he quarters Cacus.  If you look attentively at Hercules, you will notice that his serene expression shows that he isn´t brutal; his act seems implacable, but his intention is moral, it´s the act of hero who overcomes evil. 

The Rotunda was used as the balcony of the terrace of the acorns located below. It´s also similar to a circular gallery in Roman amphiteatres.

The Ceres (a Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships) appears triumphant and nostalgic, crowned with a basket where the agaves took the place of the spokes.The children clinging to her back, some of them on top of the others, play like the little cupids from the games on the sarcophagi.The statue with open arms and young face represents Proserpine (an ancient Roman goddess, Queen of the Underworld). She seats in the open space of the courtyard, in front of the stairs leading to the Temple, and greets us as the master of the house.

The Dragon seems like a nice fellow when you look at him closer: he puckers his lips but nobody believes him. He is attacked by three animals - a dog, a lion and a wolf - symbols of spring, summer and winter; of the present, the future and the past. They unsuccessfully bite the scaly monster.

The Furies, half-woman, half-snake with wings and lion´s front legs (also known as Erinyes), was a cruel goddesses who symbolized the divine vengeance.

The elefant throwing a legionary on the ground is recalling the most fearsome enemy that the most famous army of Antiquity had to face: Hannibal who destroyed the temple of the nearby Feronica and who stole the Etruscan´s treasures. 

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