Sacro Bosco: the park of the monsters in Bomarzo

You’ve certainly heard of Rome, Florence, Venice, and many other famous cities in Italy. 

But Italy also has many small towns (thousands of them) that offer unique attractions, and are often easy to reach. 

That’s the case of Bomarzo, a town just one hour and a half hour north of Rome (you’ll need a car or a driver). 

Bomarzo is located in a lovely area of central Italy called Tuscia: it’s a very green district nestled between Lazio, Tuscany, and Umbria. 

Sacro Bosco: the Park of the Monsters

The most famous attraction in Bomarzo is the Park of the Monsters, also called “Sacro Bosco” – the Holy Wood. 

It is a truly unique place. 

In 1547, Prince Pier Francesco Orsini lost his wife, Giulia Farnese. He was devastated, but he found a remarkable way to cope with his grief.

He hired Pirro Ligorio to design a garden that would help him find some peace.

Ligorio was one of the greatest architects of the 1500s, and the creator of many masterpieces, including Villa d’Este, the gorgeous Villa in Tivoli famous worldwide for its fountains. 

Most likely with the help of the prince, Ligorio designed a unique garden decorated with grotesque statues. 

Exploring the Park of the Monsters will teleport you to another dimension. 

Massive statues of Hercules, huge fish, temple-like structures, a gigantic turtle, and many more sculptures hide behind the trees and the moss, merging with the landscape. 

Walking through the Park of the Monsters is a quirky and surprising experience that you’ll never forget.

Sacro Bosco: the park of the monsters in Bomarzo

Countless scholars have tried to come up with a comprehensive interpretation of the park, but its full meaning is still mysterious. 

One of the most famous attractions is the Orc, which is also the icon of the park. 

It’s a massive, ogre-like face, whose terrifying mouth is wide open. 

But if you are brave enough, you can walk inside its mouth. You’ll find yourself in a room with a table and some benches, all carved into the natural bedrock, where you can take shelter from the heat. 

On the lips of the monster is the inscription “Ogni pensiero vola” – “Every thought flies away”. 

This sentence could help explain the true purpose of the park: a place designed to free your mind from your anguish and worries. A place where you can forget about your problems, and get lost in the magic of the grotesque. 

Maybe the message is this: don’t try to escape from your Orc. Peace waits for you if you’re brave enough to walk inside its mouth. 

If you’re staying in Rome, Florence, Orvieto, or another town in the area, don’t miss the chance to visit the Park of the Monsters. The magic created by Prince Pier Francesco and Pirro Ligorio is still very much alive.


Don’t hesitate to contact us for a customized day trip to Bomarzo. It’s an experience you will never forget.