Spot an intriguing display of mythological and fantastical sculptures, fountains and obelisks as you stroll amid this 16th-century garden.
Get ready to be amazed by the statues and sculptures that decorate the Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters). The park dates back to 1552, when Prince Vicino Orsini established it as a memorial to his late wife. It sat overgrown for many years before being brought back to life in the mid-1900s. Today, Parco dei Mostri is a playground of mannerist sculptures set around a labyrinth of well-groomed Italian gardens.
The park is a family-friendly attraction and visitors of all ages will have fun admiring the works of art. Its surreal appearance is thought to have inspired artists such as Jean Cocteau and Salvador Dali.
As there’s no set layout to the park, the best way to discover it is to wander at will. You’ll discover dozens of monstrous sculptures, designed to astonish rather than please, strewn haphazardly around pretty gardens. At the entrance, spot a stone monument decorated with the carved heads of ancient gods, including Faunus and Saturn.
Animals, both real and mythological, are a common theme. Look for a depiction of Hannibal’s elephant catching a Roman soldier in its trunk. See a winged dragon battling with a lion, a Pegasus mounted on a fountain and a three-headed dog. Stand in the mouth of a screaming ogre and marvel at the sculpture of a woman stood atop a giant turtle.
Take time to appreciate the buildings, too. One of the most notable is the Leaning House, dedicated to a friend of the park’s founder. Note the fusion of Etruscan and Renaissance architectural features of the Temple of Eternity. It houses the tomb of Giovanni Bettini, who restored the park.
The park sits on the slopes below the west side of Bomarzo’s historic center. If you are staying in Bomarzo then the park is about a 20-minute walk away. Free parking is available at the park’s entrance.
Parco dei Mostri is open daily and there’s an admission fee. Purchase drinks and snacks at the on-site café or bring your own food to enjoy at the designated picnic area.