Sacro Bosco is located in wooded valley, below the village Bomarzo, not far away from Viterbo and north of Rome.
The garden was created in the second part of XVI century, designed by the architect Pirro Ligorio (also an author of other Renaissance Italian gardens, e.g. Villa d’Este) to the order and on the basis of inspiration of the owner Pier Francesco Orsini, known as Vicino, Prince of Bomarzo.
The layout of most of Renaissance gardens is based on geometrical shapes, first of on a square. Sacro Bosco, although the Renaissance garden, is much different from all other gardens from this epoch. One will not find in this garden any typical hedges, ornamental parterres, trees and bushes trimmed to geometric or fantastic shapes. There is neither residential house nor palace, even there is no bigger building of any other purpose.
The garden is unique and very special. Just after crossing the border of this garden, through ornamental gate, the visitor is greeted by two sphinxes in order to meet, in a moment, first monster, called Proteus. The farther into the garden through twisted apparently chaotic alleys, the more strange monster figures can be seen. The most famous ones are: Elephant keeping a soldier, fighting Dragon, Neptune, Ogre (one more head of a monster with resting place of a gardener inside the mouth) or Sleeping Woman in so called Upper garden or struggling giants and big Turtle in so called Lower garden. There is also a Leaning House, making visitors sick. Most of the sculptures refer to mythological figures, there are also many sculptures of animals, especially bears, which are the armorial animal of Orsini family.
Except the already mentioned Leaning House, the another well known building is this garden is Tempietto, situated on the border of sunny meadow and created in memory of deceased wife of the owner.
The water installations played important role in the whole arrangement of this garden, unfortunately at present they are almost not visible (except few fountains like Fountain of Pegasus, Fountain with Dolphins or Fountain with Nymphs) and do not show their previous impact on the garden. Although the last reconstruction works revealed the extensive net of underground water installations.
After the death of the owner, the garden fall into oblivion and only in the middle of XX century the new owner Giovanni Bettini, after complete reconstruction, opened this garden to visitors.
Struggle between giants
Fountain of Pegasus
Fury and lions