"Parco dei Mostri or Villa of Wonders" Bomarzo by dutch_anna

Bomarzo Travel Guide: 45 reviews and 95 photos

A very strange park.

Bomarzo, province of Viterbo, is a small town with about 1600 inhabitants. There is the old castle of the princes of Orsini, a museum and not much more. For me the most worthwhile "sight" was the park nearby. The Parco dei Mostri, Park of the Monsters, Villa of Wonders, or Il Sacro Bosco. Many names for a very curious, unusual park.

It was built by Prince Orsini in 1552, to express his love for his deceased wife, Giulia Farnese.
The architect was Pirro Ligorio, who also finished the Sint Peter in Rome, after the death of Michelangelo.

In the 16th century it was not unusual, even fashionable, to like Monsters, Nymphs, Giants. Many villa's had a "Grotto", a Cave, inside the house or in the garden. A good exemple is stil seen on Isola Bella, Lago Maggiore, in the palace.
In those Caves many shells, real or carved in stone, fountains, mythological figures, and monsters.
From the word "Grotto" comes the word "grotesque".

The park is open all year. It looks rather neglected, green moss on the stones. But somehow this "matches" with its nature.

For 300 years this park was forgotten, but from the end of the 19th century many artists and writers became interested.
The Dutch painter A.C.Willink made some very intriguing paintings from the park, and Dutch novelist Hella Haasse wrote in 1968 a beautiful essay: "de tuinen van Bomarzo" (the gardens of Bomarzo).
In 1954 it was bought by the present owner.

Hanging House.

Very special is the "Hanging House", built on a slanting rock.
Inside you feel very uncomfortable, when you look through the windows.
Park of Wonders: Nothing is what it seems to be...

  • Intro Updated Jan 4, 2003
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Reviews (3)

Comments (9)

  • Aug 17, 2011 at 7:31 AM

    Hello , My name is Randy in E Texas. I am a collector of classic horror and sci-fi movies. I am recently retired and plan to travel to some of the filming locations of these movies. One of my favorites is " Castle of the Living Dead" with Christopher Lee 1964. This movie caught my eye due to the castle and strange outdoor locations. For years I have tried to find someone who knew anything about where thiss movie was shot. The castle is seen in many European horror films of the 60's. But this garden park of carved items really caught my eye. After doing some research I found an online site "IMDB" which told the locations of its filming. I first found Odescalchi Castle and after a bit more research I have now found the park it was filmed at. This "Park of the Monsters" is on my list of the first place that I plan on visiting when I arrive in Italy. I am now going to look for the best places to stay in Bomarzo . I have never been to Italy but will be there asap ! I want to arrive when there fall colors are full . For years I have wondered where these sculptures where and now I have found them ! Randy

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Mar 18, 2006 at 8:30 AM

    Beautiful introduction with stunning photos. As much as we've traveled Italy, I cannot believe that we missed lovely Bomarzo.

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2004 at 6:42 AM

    Never heard of this place, but it does sound special

  • was_the_beav's Profile Photo
    Jun 1, 2004 at 6:28 AM

    How in the world has this little page escaped me all this time?? Would love to hear more; a place in the world where "nothing is as it seems to be" holds a particular magnetic attraction for me. I wonder why... ;-)

  • Leipzig's Profile Photo
    Nov 23, 2003 at 7:03 AM

    Great page of a hidden place

  • margaretvn's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2003 at 5:32 AM

    what a strange place, good photos. Will have to go there.

  • keeweechic's Profile Photo
    Jan 17, 2003 at 2:47 PM

    What an intriguing Park - sounds very different and what a lovely dedication for its existence.

  • Jan 10, 2003 at 1:57 PM

    Strange place!

  • daarth's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2003 at 6:44 AM

    Interesting hanging house! A competition for Pisa? :-)


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