Mythological and sinister figures and gods like Hercules, Neptune, Pegasus, Isis, Ceres, Proserpine, Cerberus (the three-headed dog mentioned in Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy), peep out from the foliage of the forest, grotesque gigantic creatures carved in stone like lions, dragons, orcs, elephants, fauns and dolphins, a Casa Pendente – Leaning House – and a Temple are the inhabitants of the Bomarzo Gardens, better known as the Garden of Monsters of Bomarzo or Sacred Forest of Bomarzo, an enchanted and enchanting place that covers an area of about 3 hectares. It is located in the village of Bomarzo – from which it takes its name – in the Municipality of Viterbo, about 1 hour and half by car from Rome.
The garden was created during the 16th century.
Prince Pierfrancesco Orsini was its creator. He was a valiant leader passionate about philosophy and literature and in 1552 he wanted to give life to something unique and memorable, in fact he decided to shape the forest following his marked eccentricity. So he entrusted the realization to the architect Pirro Ligorio, who was a pupil of Michelangelo and the sculptor Simone Moschino.
After the death of Prince Orsini, the park was abandoned for centuries, until in the mid-50s of the last century when artists and intellectuals restored its fame and splendor.
La Casa Pendente – The Leaning House – is built on a sloping boulder, people who enter inside have a sense of bewilderment because of its irregular slope.
And then there is the Ogre, the icon of Bomarzo (in the photo) : it is a huge stone mask with its mouth wide open and empty eyes on whose upper lip is written:
“Ogni Pensiero Vola” – “Every Thought Flies” – which sounds as the invitation to abandon rational thought and fall into the arms of the unknown.
So let your thought flies away and treat yourself to a beautiful and interesting day by visiting the Sacred Wood of the Monsters of Bomarzo.