Monsters’ park, a Bomarzo story in Italy

Today I Would like to tell you a story about a strange and marvelous park: the Holy wood (not to be confused with Hollywood) of Bomarzo and better known as a monster park. Bomarzo is a small medieval city situated closed to Viterbo 150 km North from Rome.

Built in 1555 by Pirro Ligorio (the very same who built Adriana’s villa in Tivoli and integrated Saint Peter’s Rome after Michelangelo death) in a natural amphitheatre the park was abandoned until 1950 when Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini decided to give it a new twist.

Tempio in Bomarzo's Park

Inside the park the big statues cross the legends and the history.

From the entrance on your left you can see the monstrous Proteus. According to the legend Proteus was Poseidon’s son and he had the ability to change himself in a different shapes of life.

Two sphinxes on your right explain you the intention of the park: man and women here can chase their wishes until they get lost. Here is an quiz: Are these works built for deceit or for art?

You will no doubt come across The Orlando who butchered the shepherd. The myth from the Furious Orland returns in this sculpture: Orland devoured from Angelica’s passion went out of his mind and committed horrible actions like killing a shepherd who happened to cross his path.

Monster in Viterbo's Park

Keeping your walk going on you in the Bomarzo Park you will meet the Turtle with the winged Foam and Pegasus, Medusa’s and Poseidon’s son, The Orca and Ninfeo and Venus born from the sea and the “Abandoned Nude” who represents Armide, perfidious witch from The Liberated Jerusalem. Legend says that she fell in love with Rinaldo.

After Armida you will be in a boulevard path that lead you to the Orco (ogre) . As if the Orco must to be protected before to meet him you bump into other 3 figures really scary: two lions, the Furies winged and finally the Echidnae terrible monster half women and half snake. Then Pluto, the Dragon, The elephant inspired by the Hannibal battle against Romans and Cerere heart’s Goddess.


When you see the Orco you remain impressed and you would believe that the Orco could be the entrance! Climb the stairs and read the sentence inscribed beneath his teeth: “ Every thought flies away”! I did: I went inside the jaws and I found myself inside a small room with a table and really for a moment your thoughts fly away.

Still Proserpina and Cerberus to see and finally the temple in Doric style dedicated from Vicino Orsini to the death wife Giulia Farnese. Today it is the grave of Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini.

Whilst visiting the park you cannot miss the pendent house built on top of the rope and that give you like if you are losing your balance. How to get to this spectacular example of mannerist art park? follow the map to Bomarzo.

Open every day: entrance fee: 9 euros.

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