Bomarzo monster park

Bomarzo monster park


Bomarzo parco mostri orco 300x225 - Bomarzo monster park bomarzo 8098 - Bomarzo monster park

Bomarzo Monster Park. Monsters, mythological creatures and giants, made from stone, in a beautiful maze of an Italian garden.

Salvador Dali was a fan, which says alot about the surreal aspect of the park.

The Sacro Bosco, or the Park of the Monsters, a Mannerist monumental garden located in Bomarzo, was intended not to please, but to astonish, like many Manneristic works of art.

The gardens were created during the 16th century by Pier Francesco Orsini, a patron of the arts, greatly devoted to his wife Giulia Farnese. When she died,the gardens were designed in her memory.

During the nineteenth century, the gardens became overgrown and neglected. But,, in the 1970’s, a program of restoration was implemented by the Bettini family, and today the garden is a major tourist attraction.


bomo 3 - Bomarzo monster park bomozr 8888 - Bomarzo monster park  bomo m - Bomarzo monster park bomo 88 300x200 - Bomarzo monster park bomo 8 - Bomarzo monster park bomoarzo 8888 300x199 - Bomarzo monster park bomoarzo 88 300x199 - Bomarzo monster park


Designed by Pirro Ligorio, and the sculptures are attributed to Simone Moschino. 

Quotes written on the statues:

‘Sol per sfogare il Core (‘Just to set the heart free’)

‘All Thoughts Fly’ (written on the Orcus, with its mouth wide open).

There are many allusive verses in Italian by Annibal Caro, Bitussi and Cristofo Madruzzo, some of them now eroded, were inscribed beside the sculptures.


  • A fountain of Pegasus, the winged horse.
  • Two sirens, probably Proserpina, wife of Pluto.
  • Orcus, with its mouth wide open and on whose upper lip it is inscribed “All Thoughts Fly”, which is illustrated by the fact that the acoustics of the mouth mean that any whisper made inside is clearly heard by anyone standing at the base of the steps.
  • whale.
  • Two bears.
  • dragon attacked by lions.
  • Proteus with weapons of Orsini.
  • Hannibal’s elephant catching a Roman legionary.
  • turtle with a winged woman on its back.
  • A small theater of Nature
  • giant who brutally shreds a character.
  • fountain called Pegasus.
  • A sleeping nymph.
  • Venus
  • The giant fruitcones and basins


  • The Leaning House : dedicated to cardinal Cardinal Madruzzo, who was a friend of Orsini and his wife.
  • The Temple of Eternity : memorial to Giulia Farnese, located at the top of the garden, it is an octagonal building with a mixture of classical, Renaissance and Etruscan genres. It currently houses the tombs of Giovanni Bettini and Tina Severi, the owners who restored the garden in the twentieth century. 
 Bomarzo was a major inspiration to the following books, movies and artists.
  • The surreal nature of the Parco dei Mostri appealed the great surrealist Salvador Dali, who discussed it at great length.
  • The poet Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues wrote an essay devoted to Bomarzo.
  • Artist Niki de Sant Phalle was inspired by Bomarzo for her Tarot Garden in Tuscany.
  • The story behind Bomarzo and the life of Pier Francesco Orsini are the subject of a novel by the Argentinian writer Manuel Mujica Lainez (1910–1984), Bomarzo (1962). Mujica Láinez himself wrote a libretto based on his novel, which was set to music by Alberto Ginastera. The opera Bomarzo  premièred in Washington in 1967.
  • Some scenes from the 1985 Frankenstein film The Bride were shot amidst the statuary at the Garden.
  • A fight scene in the 1985 film The Adventures of Hercules takes place here and the Orcus’ mouth acts as an entrance to a cave.
  • A replica of the Orcus mouth appears as a major setpiece in the 1997 film The Relic.
  • Orcus mouth appears in the 1964 Italian horror film “Il Castello dei Morti Vivi” (aka Castle of the Living Dead) starring Christopher Lee.

    Within one hour from Rome, this would make a brilliant day trip.

    Take a picnic, a map, and the whole family.

    Share this post