The Shocking Mannerism of the Gardens of Bomarzo

Situated near to the historic city of Viterbo in Italy’s Lazio region, the gardens of Bomarzo (variously known as the sacro bosco and parco dei mostri) were an idea conceived by Pier Francesco Orsini, Duke of Bomarzo, during the sixteenth century. Apparently an aesthetic, creative tool to help Orsini deal with the aftermath of war and the deaths of his friend and his wife, the plot is designed to fascinate and shock visitors. Pirro Ligorio, the designer of Villa d’Este at Tivoli, was the architect chosen by Orsini to bring the idea to fruition. Accordingly, the project was essentially the antithesis of more traditional Renaissance gardens, which usually rely on symmetry and the careful placement of objects and figurative works thought to embody aspects of classical beauty. 

Images: All photographs are courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and depict the following subjects: Orcus, Neptune, Armida, Casa Pendente (leaning house), Cerberus, Ceres, a dragon, Hercules and Cacus, Pegasus, a turtle. 

Posted by Samantha Hughes-Johnson.

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