Park of Monsters, Bomarzo
The Park of Monsters, or Sacred Wood (Bosco Sacro), or Villa of Wonders of Bomarzo is located in the province of Viterbo.
Made around 1500, is the black sheep of the Italian Renaissance gardens, usually full of fountains, sculptures delicate and graceful, delicate flowers and perfectly trimmed hedges.
As the name suggests, the Monster Park is far away from the regular and delicate English or Italian Gardens: it is a real forest, in parts almost left fallow, and most of the sculptures are made by huge rocks that rise from the ground and representing dragons, elephants, giant tortoises, scary masks and hanging houses, vessels, a funerary temple, obelisks bearing strange misleading inscriptions.
Unlike a delicate garden from the XVII century, the Monster Park does not have a real logical conductor, has no obvious rational criteria and logical linking between their structures and statues, one does not see any kind of consistency between any of the parties together.
Perhaps for this reason it was abandoned, until it was rediscovered, reassessed and then saved by the likes of Goethe and Dali.
The statues of themselves are not highly valuable works or refined; there is no real path, a road fixed to visit and understand the park, and its beauty is precisely that sense of estrangement that you can try in a forest wilderness where, at every turn, a monster of some sort can surprise you for no reason other than a “Why not?”.
It’s a very romantic garden in the ‘Sturm und Drang’ way, strong passions mitigated by the tranquility of a grove, that can also surprise you with a giant turtle or a dragon fighting with lions. Int he end, it’s not a park where one remains speechless, but one where you leave a bit more perplexed and a bit more dreamy.
The individual entrance cost 10 euros and the Monster Park is open daily from April to October from 8:30 to 19:00, while in winter it is open from 8:30 am until sunset (Check the site before planning your visit to have the most current information possible).
We stayed there on a September afternoon, truly lovely. I suggest to stop until as late as possible, perhaps in October until about 18:30 to let yourself be enchanted by the light of the almost sunset filtering through the trees of the forest.