The Sacred Wood is the oldest sculpture park in the modern world, located in Bomarzo in the province of Viterbo.
Also called Monster Park, the Sacred Wood is characterized by the presence of original and unprecedented stone sculptures scattered throughout a three-hectare natural park, which create a truly evocative atmosphere.
The peculiarity of such sculptures, commissioned around the mid-1500s by Pier Francesco Orsini, lord of Bomarzo, is that they do not follow the usual architectural and geometric guidelines as they possess neither a perspective nor proportional scheme.
The purpose for which the park was built is also unknown, perhaps to amaze the visitor!
Upon Orsini’s death, the park was unfortunately abandoned, but in the second half of the twentieth century, Giancarlo and Tina Severi Bettini took an interest in it, and what can be visited today is the result of their continuous restoration work.
Visiting the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo with children: what to see
It was a small detour that was also worth it because in the end our daughters loved the park as well.
❖ How the visit to the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo works with children
You leave your car in the large free parking lot in front of the entrance and enter the park.
Between the ticket office – where you buy your ticket and where you are given a map of the park – and the actual entrance to the Sacred Wood, you will find a bar/restaurant with outdoor tables and a nice playground for children.
We recommend following the directions on the map in order not to miss a single one of these very special and curious sculptures!
The path winds under large trees so, even on the hottest days, it remains quite shady.
Browsing among the gigantic statues of Bomarzo, one encounters mythological animals such as Sphinxes, orcs, dragons, obelisks, and mythological characters from Greek culture such as Hercules and Neptune.
Then again, exotic animals, caves, fountains and a peculiar “leaning” house.
Immersing oneself in the labyrinth of the Sacred Forest, gives one the impression of living outside of time, in bygone eras where art and magic have created a place steeped in fascination and mystery.
❖ What not to miss while visiting the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo with children
Whichever route you decide to follow, the sculptures not to be missed while visiting the Bomarzo Monster Park with children are:
☛ The Proteus-Glaucus – The first monster you encounter while following the map.
☛ The Elephant – In his trunk he holds a warrior tightly and on his back he carries a large tower.
☛ The Ogre – Symbol of the park, impossible not to get a souvenir photo taken inside its gaping mouth!
☛ The Leaning House – This is a house built on a sloping boulder and therefore deliberately leaning. Obviously getting inside is a popular attraction among children!
☛ Neptune – The god of the sea holding a dolphin.
☛ The Pegasus Fountain – Among the sculptures closest to the entrance, it is probably the most beautiful fountain in the park.
These are just a few of the 37 curious sculptures you can find inside the park.
Visiting the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo with children: strollers
The park is accessible to strollers. In some places there are some ups and downs and a few steps especially in the first part where the statue of Hercules is located. Here for example we preferred to leave the stroller at the side of the path and go down the steps with the baby in our arms, and then return to pick it up and continue our visit to the other sculptures.
Useful information for visiting the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo with children
❒ Tickets can be purchased online at the official website or on the day at the ticket office and cost €13.00 adult, €8.00 child 4/13 years, free under 4 years.
❒ The Park is open daily with continuous hours.
In November, December, January, February with hours 09:00 – 17:00; March to September 09:00 – 19:00; October 09:00 – 18:00.
As for the duration of the visit, count from a couple of hours to half a day.
❒ Dogs are not allowed in the monument area and neither smoking nor eating is allowed.
❒ Explain to children that they cannot climb on the sculptures.
❒ To get to Bomarzo Monster Park, you must take the A1 Attigliano highway exit, and continue for about 4 km to the parking lot.
Where to sleep in Bomarzo
Agriturismo Poggio degli Ulivi – Double rooms and bungalows surrounded by greenery, with parking and breakfast included – Book here.