Bomarzo is a small town at a short distance from the provincial capital Viterbo. The biggest and most famous attraction of the town is the Park of the Monsters, which however prefers being named “the Holy Forest” (Sacro Bosco).
Bomarzo travel guide
The ZIP code of Bomarzo is 01020 and the area code is 0761. The only borough (frazione) is Mugnano in Teverina.
By car/public transport to Bomarzo
From Rome by car: Take the A1 motorway in northern direction. From Orte follow directions to Viterbo. Take the Soriano/Bomarzo exit.
From Viterbo by car: Take the SS675 in eastern direction.
From Rome by public transport: Take the train to Orte and then a bus to Bomarzo.
From Viterbo by public transport: Take the Cotral bus to Orte. There is a stop in Bomarzo.
What to see
Bomarzo‘s two most important sights by far are the Monster Park, a large garden where large statues of fantastic animals and mythological figures are scattered here and there, and the Palazzo Orsini, a 16th century palace. The latter now houses the town hall and has a number of beautifully painted rooms.
Near the park several necropolises and other catacombs of various kinds can be found.
The most important church is the Chiesa di Santa Maria di Montecasoli and just outside the town is the Monte Casoli di Bomarzo natural park.
The Chiesa di Santa Maria Assunta is an early Christian church that was restored in 1546. Inside is a 3rd century sarcophagus with the remains of Saint Anselmo, patron saint of Bomarzo. The bell-tower flanking the church was built op top of some Etruscan ruins.
A brief history of Bomarzo
The original Etruscan settlement was conquered by the Romans. When the barbarians invaded the area, the local population moved to the surrounding hills and founded what is now Bomarzo.
The city is situated on volcanic ground, on the rocky surface of the spurs leading to the Tiber valley. The volcanic rocks, of a kind called peperino, that are found here have through the centuries been used as building materials.
The town was a bishop’s seat as early as the 6th century. Before becoming subject of a dispute between the Lombards and the church, it was part of a Roman duchy. Charlemagne later donated the village to the church.
In the 16th century, Bomarzo became property of the Orsini family. Especially under the reign of Pierfrancesco Orsini, the city knew a period of prosperity.
Subsequent owners were Ippolito Lante della Rovere, a Polish prince called Poniatowski and the Borghese family.