Cheryl Alexander: a small tour of Bomarzo

Eccoci nuovamente con "i post degli amici". Cheryl Alexander, guida turistica "slow travel" di Italian Excursion, ci porta alla scoperta dell'Alto Lazio e precisamente del borgo di Bomarzo. A voi la lettura (in inglese) del l'ho trovato interessantissimo!!

One of the best reasons to travel to Italy repeatedly is that there are always new places to visit. It's doubtful anyone could see every nook and cranny of this unbearably beautiful country in one lifetime. Two or three times a year I get the privilege of visiting there as well as sharing with a small group of travelers  some of the gems I've discovered over the years in northern Lazio and the surrounds. One recent September, was again not as I expected. Of course I love to share some of my favorite spots in Bagnoregio, Orvieto, Castel Giorgio and Bolsena, but this trip we also found some places I hadn't yet explored.

We usually treat our guests to a small tour of Bomarzo, sometimes called the Monster Park. It was created over 500 years ago by a local nobleman as a tribute to his wife, whom he adored. Artisans were brought to the site to sculpt large figures out of the enormous boulders in the area. The result is a sculpture park or estate that is utterly fascinating. Most of the pieces represent ancient mythological figures that are easily recognizable but seem so out of place for the time they were created. The Pagan atmosphere is such an odd juxtaposition of the papal art that was produced in the period. Nonetheless, it is a lovely place to enjoy quiet, woods, walking and sprawling lawns.

Monster Park

This trip, we decided to explore the village of Bomarzo that stands high up over the park itself. It's a small, sleepy hilltop village and the climb to the historic center is a bit of a challenge. Driving is not encouraged except for the residents at the top. We discovered that we were the only folks there to enjoy the phenomenal views that swept away on all fronts, as far as we could see. The wind whipped at us and all around us forcing us to walk into the center.

Walking into the center there is a small piazza with a lovely church, also empty. But the most exciting surprise was the palazzo that sits at the top, empty. The city had just begun work on restoring it and the workers were kind enough to show us an unlocked door so we could wander in. There were faded fresci on the walls, carved ceilings, views from the recently windowed terraces that one can only imagine. The floors had some of the original stonework as did some of the giant fireplaces. Wide stone staircases led to other floors. These are some of the hidden treasures we seek out on our small group tours.

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