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Exquisite Italy: Gardens Of Bomarzo

13th August 2015

Visiting a botanic garden offers a nice change from the traditional museum outing, allowing you to explore cultural heritage in an outdoor setting. Today, we head to the Lazio region of Italy to discover the curious Sacro Bosco gardens of Bomarzo.

This surreal park is also referred to as the 'Sacred Grove' or the 'Park of the Monsters' – with good reason. The park is populated by strange statues representing a host of monsters, dragons and mythological figures, as well as exotic animals, obelisks, inscribed garden benches and astonishing buildings, such as 'The Leaning House'.

An enchanted setting for a fairy tale, the park is located in Lazio, not far from Mount Cimino, next to the palace of the Orsini Italian noble family. It was Prince Vicino Orsini who commissioned the park, designed by architect and landscaper Pirro Ligorio.

Created in 1552, the garden ran counter to the aesthetic of the times, which was characterised by rational order, geometry, broad terraces, fountains and Mannerist sculptures. Prince Orsini favoured oversized statues representing the sea god Neptune, a sleeping nymph, the winged horse Pegasus, a giant tortoise, and even an ogre with a mouth large enough to swallow an adult, all against a verdant backdrop. Oddly, no theme unites the various sculptures.

The park was abandoned following the prince's death. Two centuries would pass before artists like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Salvador Dali would revive interest in the park.

This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.