Bomarzo: history, timetables and how to visit the park of monsters

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The story of the Bomarzo Monster Park inspired by art and which inspired and continues to inspire art.

 

The Bomarzo Monster Park is a unique place in the world. A space where myths, legends, monsters and characters of literature become creatures made of stone and covered with moss.

 

Over the years, many scholars and enthusiasts have tried to unravel the mysteries of this artistic complex, unfortunately without great results because (apparently) it is not easy to interpret the figures, spaces and inscriptions of the Park of Monsters that does not respond to a single logic but to a complex and open system of interpretations.

Park Of The Monsters Of Bombardment

The Monster Park is located in the municipality of the same name in the province of Viterbo. The creation of the park, which its patron called the Sacred Wood, dates back to 1547. Prince Pier Francesco Orsini commissioned it to the architect and antiquarian Pirro Ligorio, who with great visionary skill created a place that we could absolutely define grotesque.

 

Mythological and enigmatic statues, alchemical symbols and monsters of all kinds live in the thick wood together with impossible architectures, such as the crooked house. And then there is the funeral temple with the dome shaped on the basis of that of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. The Park is dedicated to Giulia Farnese and perhaps a key to understanding the esotericism of the place, could be revealed by the inscription “Sol per sfogare il core, presente nel Sacro Bosco. 

 

Scientists, historians and philologists have worked hard to explain the labyrinth of symbols of the forest, looking for ancient themes and motifs of Renaissance literature, such as the Canzoniere by Francesco Petrarca, the Orlando furioso by Ludovico Ariosto and the poems Amadigi and Floridante by Bernardo Tasso. So many mysteries have remained that a universal interpretative scheme has never been found.

 

After the death of Prince Orsini in 1585, the park was abandoned and in the second half of the twentieth century was restored by the couple Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini, who are buried in the small temple inside the park, which is perhaps also the tomb of Giulia Farnese.

 

The park is a sort of fairytale oasis where you can walk through mythology and literary quotations, from Ovid’s Metamorphoses to the Divine Comedy, passing through the Decameron. Salvador Dalì fell in love with the park and was inspired by it (here is the video of Dalì in Bomarzo). Michelangelo Antonioni dedicated to him a famous 10-minute documentary, La villa dei mostri. Lina Wertmuller shot a few scenes of a small jewel of the Italian Comedy, Sotto sotto strapazzato da anomala passion.

How To Get To The Park Of Monsters 

The Monster Park can be easily reached by car from the Orte exit (from the South) and the Attigliano exit (from the North) of the A1 motorway. By public transport it is not easily reachable even if there are some Cotral buses from the station of Orte and Viterbo reach the village of Bomarzo.

Timetables Of The Park Of The Monsters 

The Park is open every day from 08.30 to 19.00 from 1 April to 31 October and is open until sunset in the months from November to March. The park is not open at night. The cost of admission tickets is 10 euros. Children up to 4 years old enter free of charge and those from 4 to 13 years old pay 8 euros.

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