Bomarzo is a little old town, less than an hour drive from Capena in the province of Viterbo, perfect for an unusual and interesting day out with the family.
This town is well renowned for its mysterious and enchanting gardens called the `Sacred Grove` or the `Monsters’ Grove` due to the presence of various grotesque stone sculptures.
The Italian Renaissance gardens are well known in central Italy and there are plenty of them that can still be visited but this one is a bit different in style and it seems it was designed more to impress or even scare rather than to produce aesthetical delight.
The park, situated at the base of a natural amphitheatre, was commissioned in the XVI century by PierFrancesco Orsini in memory of his beloved wife Giulia Farnese.
The architect Pirro Ligorio designed this astonishing piece of art, that has been left abandoned since the Orsini prince’s death for many centuries but has recently been refurbished to the joy of all its visitors who come here attracted by its fame and get completed enchanted in this labyrinth full of symbolic capturing figures.
The sphinx will welcome you at the entrance, followed by a series of enigmatic and bizarre statues including: one of Hannibal’s war elephants, the group of the Giants, the dragons’ fight, the huge turtle with a feminine figure on top, the twisted house, the ogre with its big open mouth, the statue of Ceres laying on the ground with a vase of fruits on her head and various other monsters.
Children love this place where they can enjoy an old style playground while adults love instead the queerness of this Mannerist masterpiece open air.
The park is open every day:
08.30 – 19.00 (01/04 – 31/10)
08.30 to sunset (01/11 – 31/03)
Tickets are €10 pp for adults and €8 for children 4 to 13 years old.
All other infos and a map are available on the park website: