Sunday, January 6, 2008

Day Trips from Rome-Il Parco dei Monstri in Bomarzo

About an hour's drive from Rome is the lovely medieval hillside town of Bomarzo. The town is topped by a palace built by the Orsini family. The Orsinis traced their origins to Julius Caesar and were very prominent among the papacy and royalty throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. The main attraction of Bomarzo is the Park of the Monsters (Il Parco dei Monstri). In 1552 Pier Francesco Orsini commissioned Pirro Ligorio, the architect who designed the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, to design a garden as a gift for his wife, Guilia Farnese. The garden is not the typical Renaissance garden filled with manicured hedges and classical sculptures. Rather it is a fantasy of mythological structures and sculptures, monsters and deities each stranger than the next. The sculptures are on a grand scale, inspiring awe in the visitors and also allowing them to interact with the sculptures. It's a wonderful place to bring children-and adults will love it too! To get there from Rome, take the A1 toward Florence and then the exit toward Viterbo. Follow the signs to Bomarzo.

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