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Viterbo – The Park of Monsters of Bomarzo

The Park of Monsters is also known with the name of Sacred Wood or Villa of the Wonders of Bomarzo. It was designed by the architect Pirro Ligorio on commission of Prince Pier Francesco Orsini, called Vicino. Orsini called the park simply “boschetto” and dedicated it to his wife, Giulia Farnese.

The Monster Park is adorned with numerous basalt sculptures dating back to the sixteenth century and depicting mythological animals, gods and just … monsters. Many attractions are marked by enigmatic and mysterious inscriptions, which have unfortunately survived in small part. However, it should be noted that the current layout of the attractions in the Park is not, except in a few rare cases, the original one, but dates back to the second half of the 20th century, when the Bettini family took it over and put it back into use.

We do not know the original purpose for which the park was built: in the course of time many hypotheses have been formulated that would see the place as an “initiation path”. Certainly Vicino Orsini simply wanted to have an enchanted place for the pleasure of others or personal.

Among the many monsters that adorn the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo are: the Sphinxes, Proteus, the Mausoleum (a large boulder apparently shapeless), Hercules and Cacus, the group of the Turtle and the Whale. But also the Elephant, the Dragon, the Orc and Cere (goddess of the harvest and mother of Proserpine). Among the attractions there is also a real curiosity: the Leaning House. This is a small building built on an inclined boulder and therefore deliberately leaning. The peculiarity is that the interior has an irregular slope (the floor is not at 90 degrees to the walls), causing confusion in those who enter.

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