The Gardens of Bomarzo: the Sacred Woods

The “Sacred Wood” of Bomarzo is a very peculiar park in the neighborhood of Viterbo.
It is set up with dozens of sculptures shaped as sea monsters, giants, ogres, fountains or exotic animals, created in the 16th century but breaking all the rules of Renaissance’s beauty and symmetry.

We will take you on a guided tour among the stunning and odd sculptures carved out of huge volcanic outcrops. What makes this park picturesque and unique is its eccentricity. We are used to refined Italian gardens, which follow geometric and perspective rationality and feature, green edges, mazes, terraces, fountains and mannerist sculptures. On the contrary, the Prince of Bomarzo dedicated himself to creating an eccentric “grove” having the blocks of peperino emerging from the ground sculpted into enigmatic figures of monsters, dragons, deities, and exotic animals

According to Prince Orsini’s will, everything here is made up with iconological and esoterical criteria. After his death, nobody took charge of the place and it only began to be appreciated by intellectuals and artists such as Claude Lorrain, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Salvador Dali after centuries of neglect.

What we find today is a labyrinth of symbols, which escape even the most impassioned scholars: just in the last few years, some light has been shed on the meaning of the park, thanks to the strenuous work of Antonio Rocca.

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technical information

Length

  • ¤ Half Day

Season

Easy

Here with your family? You can take part in this hike.

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All our hikes are led by certified hiking guides.
Our guides are all members of AIGAE – The Italian Association for Professional Nature and Walking Guides
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