Once upon a time, a noble condottiero and patron of the arts, Sir Pier Francesco Orsini, decided to create the Park of Monsters in Bomarzo, a set of gardens filled with monsters and mythological creatures. The park of monsters. Sir Pier Francesco made it very clear and remarked that the garden and its creatures were not meant to be pretty, but to astonish and shock.
It all happened one rainy night, in the 1550’s… Sir Pier Francesco had just been back from a brutal war, the French-Spanish war fought in Italy, he had been held for random reasons, his friend was killed, and came home to find his beloved wife dead. Wrecked with grief, Sir Pier Francesco decided he wanted to create a park of wonders, filled with fascinating creatures and sculptures for which he would have an explanatory inscription for each. And so he hired the architect Pirro Logorio to help him with this creation. He was a very respected architect, he completed the Cathedral of Saint Peter after Michelangelo passed away. Sir Pier Francesco believed it took an unusual architect to build an unusual park of wonders. And this park, dear Reader, is truly astounding… The park is filled with bizarre and fascinating sculptures and creatures from mythology and other monsters for which only the accompanying inscriptions (and some imagination 🙂 ) provide any explanation.
Among the pieces are a war elephant
a dragon fighting a lion
the Greek battle between two giants
Poseidon sitting in what looks like to be his temple at the bottom of the ocean
a house built on a tilt to disorient the viewer
The most iconic piece of the park is the Mouth of Hell, an enormous open-mouth screaming head inside which, on the tongue, stands a picnic table and enough seating for a few people. The accompanying inscription reads “all thought departs” (ogni pensiero vola).
As the park was not magical enough, I found the most unlikely creature that could ever be found in such place: a true Japanese cosplay girl dressed in a what I imagined to be an impala or wild sheep. She was accompanied by her own photographer and the environment actually suited her well 🙂