BomarzoLazio in Italy, famous for its park of stone monsters.
By busTake a regional bus from Viterbo railway station (check with the schedules). The bus route starts at the Riello /p.zza G.Bruno bus terminal, but the closest bus stop to the railway station is v.le Trieste /N.Sauro-Gorizia. A journey take about 1/2 hour. Alternatively the same bus but in the opposite direction could be caught at the Orte Scalo railway station.
Get off at the at a small roundabout at Bomarzo. Walk downhill 400 m northwards via to the historical centre of the village. At the tiny piazza Matteotti turn left a bit uphill into the village until you come to the back facade of the Palazzo Orsini next to a small parking lot.
By carFrom the Rome-Florence A1 Autostrada leave at Attigliano and follow signs to Bomarzo.
Park of the Monsters
Sacro BoscoThe Park of the Monsters is the main Bomarzo's attraction. It is also referred to as the Sacred Grove or Monsters' Grove. It contains many strange larger-than-life sculptures, sculpted in the large lumps of volcanic rock that littered the area. It was put together by Pier Francesco Orsini in the 1570s. The many monstrous statues have, in their time, entertained princes and princesses and provided inspiration for poets, novelists and painters, including Salvador Dali. There is even an opera called “Bomarzo”.
Statues and fountains include Pegasus, Hannibal’s Elephants, an Orc, a dragon attacked by dogs, a turtle with a giant woman on its back, a two-tailed mermaid, a giant and Aphrodite, an ogre’s head as the “Mouth of Hell” and many more. There is also a strange little house which leans sharply to one side and is great fun to go inside. Carvings of acorns are all over the place, presumably a reference to the Della Rovere family that owned the local castle (Rovere meaning oak in Italian).
Palazzo OrsiniA big Renaissance palace dominates the old part of the village. It doesn't seem to be open to the public but it's worth a have a bit of a walk once you're there.
Riserva Naturale Monte Casoli di BomarzoThe area which is not only rich in nature but also history left numerous traces here. At the top of the Monte Casoli hill it is still possible to see cavernous dwellings (l'abitato rupestre di Monte Casoli a Bomarzo) which used to be inhabited since Neolithic time to the Middle Ages. Walking further along the CAI 125 you'd also find remains of the Etruscan and Roman altars cut from the rock and the ruins of an old abbey.
Piramide etruscaYet another Etruscan altar in a form of pyramid with steps carved from a top of a rock. Along the path leading to the Piramide you'd also come through a notable passage cut through the rock.