|Have you visited the town of Bomarzo...or only the Park?|
For centuries scholars have tried to understand the meaning behind the esoteric sculptures of the 16th century park created by Vicino Orsini in the valley below his palazzo in the tiny town of Bomarzo. Perhaps the secret code of the Sacro Bosco has finally been broken.
Orsini's Sacro Bosco, also known as the Park of Monsters, has a new interpretation thanks to Antonio Rocca whose study Bomarzo Ermetica was presented on Saturday in the magnificent salone of Palazzo Orsini castle of Bomarzo.
|above our heads -frescoed ceilings|
|surprised to see the floor tiles are just like mine|
Among those present, local politicians, foreign professors and a large number of young people interested in the history and art of the area.
|left to right: Mayor Roberto Furano, Sofia Varoli Piazza, Irene Temperini|
During the conference landscape architect and historian Sofia Varoli Piazza explained the connection between landscape and historic gardens in the Tuscia area, others expounded on the economic value of beauty and how to promote and protect sites such as the Sacro Bosco.
|symbols or Vicino Orsini on the palazzo facade|
Off limits areas of the palazzo-now the City Hall- were opened allowing us to view the private terrace with mottos by Orsini.
Here are a few of the inscriptions telling Orsini's philosophy.
SPERNE TERRENA POST MORTEM VERA VOLUPTAS
SAPIENS DOMINABITUR ASTRIS
FATO PRUDENTIA MINOR
Symbols of the Orsini and Farnese families-the bear, the rose and the lily-can be seen throughout the palazzo and the town.
|Orsini bear and Farnese lily by Claudio Magagnini|
The park was created by Vicino Orsini to honor his wife Giulia Farnese, to express his philosophy and to amaze and out-do his contemporaries who created their Renaissance gardens in other towns of the Tuscia-Viterbo area also known as Etruria.
|the Sacro Bosco lies in the valley below the palazzo|
At the palazzo complexes of his contemporaries (Marescotti Ruspoli in Vignanello, Lante della Rovere in Bagnaia and Farnese in Caprarola) the gardens are all adjacent to the buildings, but at Bomarzo the park is quite a distance away since the palazzo is built atop the steep hill.
The two sites complement one another: without the palazzo, the park, now owned by the Bettini family, is incomplete and vice versa.
|from this terrace, Vicino Orsini looked down to his Sacro Bosco|
Over the centuries the roads that linked the Sacro Bosco to the palazzo on the hill have been destroyed but hopefully they can be newly joined. If the administration can solve the parking problem with a shuttle bus many of the thousands of tourists who come the park each year could also enjoy the rarely seen historic center and the palazzo.
As usually happens in Italy, the conference ended with a buffet. It was served in the entrance hall of the palazzo, overflowing into the piazza .
|The author and friends improvise a table in the piazza|
After the buffet and some exploring in the old medieval center, Antonio Rocca accompanied those present to the Sacro Bosco for an in depth, on site explanation. Have you been to the town of Bomarzo? to the Sacro Bosco?
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