The Monster Park was built in Bomarzo at the behest of Vinicio Orsini in the sixteenth century, in memory of his deceased wife. He asked the architects Pirro Ligorio and Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, called il Vignola, to make some “impossible” buildings, monsters and mythological animals for the park. In fact, at the time there were very strong alchemical influences.
There are a number of inscriptions to amaze and confound visitors rather than guide them. The symbols are mixed and overlapping. Over time, many scholars have tried, not without frustration, to understand the logic. Enigmas are hidden everywhere. There is a slanted house and very mysterious statues. Technique and virtuosity dominate the whole monumental complex. Mannerism is brilliantly synthesized and represented by the inscription on a pillar that reads “Sol per sfogare il core – Only to ease the heart”.
The quotes refer to works by Ariosto and Petrarch. The park was a source of inspiration for various artists, first and foremost, the mysterious complex genius of Salvador Dali.
The park was restored in the second half of the twentieth century by Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini, buried in the temple inside the park which is perhaps also the tomb of Giulia Farnese.