Bomarzo, City of the Hazelnut, stands along the Teverina Wine Route, 90 km from Rome and 20 from Viterbo. It is “perched” on one of the last rocky spurs stretching towards the Tiber Valley, created by the lava flows from the volcanic Cimini Mountains.
Peperino, the magmatic rock typical of the village, was most widely used in the 16th century for construction of the park of monsters, Parco dei Mostri. An inspiration for Salvator Dali and, in more recent times, a board game, the amazing Bosco Sacro-Sacred Wood, desired by Prince Pier Vicino Orsini and built by the Renaissance architect and pioneer Pirro Ligorio, offers amazing, confusing optical illusions, gigantic monsters and mythological animals, inscriptions of works by Ariosto and Petrarch and hidden unsolved enigmas.
A curious discovery on a terraced cliff-top overlooking the Valle del Fosso Castello is the mysterious Etruscan Pyramid, a stone about 16 meters high with steps leading to an altar carved into it.
Not to be missed is Palazzo Orsini, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the cathedral that houses the relics of Sant’Anselmo di Bomarzo, the Church of Santa Maria della Valle and the delightful Church of Sant’Anselmo.
Typical food and wine include the biscotto di Sant’Anselmo. It is said that in the 5th century AD, the anise flavoured doughnut was called “bread of Sant’Anselmo” because the then bishop of the city, Anselmo, today the patron saint celebrated on 24 and 25 April at Palio di Sant’Anselmo and Sagra del Biscotto, produced a sweet bread for the poor who were traveling the Via Francigena. To burn the biscuit’s calories, these days many try hiking, trekking and horseback riding.