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The Sacred Grove of Bomarzo

In a wooded vale in the Campagna north of Rome lies a fantastical garden. John-Paul Stonard meets its inhabitants.

John-Paul Stonard

The garden at Bomarzo was built in the sixteenth century by an Italian nobleman as a memorial to his wife Guilia. Populated by Fish-tailed Harpies, Fortified Elephants, a Grotto of Venus and a Mask of Madness, turtles, lions, dragons and bears, it was called a ‘sacred grove’ - Sacro Bosco, by its creator, Vicino Orsini (c.1513-84).

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: The Wrestling Colossi

Part 3: The War Elephant

Part 4: The Dragon Fighting a Pair of Lions

Part 5: The Mouth of Hell

Part 6: The Covered Bench

Part 7: The Harpies and Mermaids

Part 8: Mask of Madness / Fortified Sphere

Part 9: The Tempietto

Author's Biography

John-Paul Stonard is an art historian.

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