Bomarzo is a small town, located near Viterbo on the road to Orta.
It is the Orsini family's hereditary fief. The Castle rises at the edge of this small town.
The residence's gardens were created by Vicino Orsini, the Duke of
Bomarzo. He was born in 1528 and died in 1588.
An educated humanist, he was interested in the Arts and was their patron.
He devoted his life to the happiness of his House and his wife, Julia
Farnese. After Julia Farnese's death, he created the plan for this garden.
He didn't call this garden a giardino, but Bosco Sacro, a Sacred Grove or Bosco dei Monstri, the Monsters' grove. Monster must be understood in the Latin meaning of monstrare, which means to show and demonstrate. This then means that from stop to stop, from stage to stage, each element is a component of an immense, very neoplatonic poem to his lost love. To create this garden, he called on one of the greatest landscapers and architects of his time, Pirro Ligorio.
All the Italian princes came to visit, as did innumerable foreign travelers. Unfortunately, as with most of the Renaissance gardens, the work was neglected.
When it was revisited in the beginning of this century, it was overgrown with
trees, everything was half collapsed, all of which merely gave the garden an
even more fantastic aspect.
It was at this time that André Pieyre de Mandiargue visited and wrote a
sublime treatise on the sleeping garden of Bomarzo.
Salvador Dali and Cocteau, the surrealists, discussed it at great length. Bomarzo is in fashion.