Bomarzo - Il Parco dei Mostri

Bomarzo, a sleepy little Laziale town just a few kilometers from the Tuscan and Umbrian borders, has a lovely little secret. The most un-renaissance-like of the renaissance gardens, the Monster Park (il Parco dei Mostri, also known as the Sacred Wood/il Sacro Bosco). It's hidden away, as the name suggests, in a wooded area in the valley around the town. Hidden yes, but not hiding, as it still attracts visitors from far and wide.

You can see why. Perfect for kids, with plenty of allegorical and historical layers for the most cultured of adults, the park is a pleasure on a sunny day. Built in the 16th century by the Duke of Bomarzo, Pier Francesco Orsini, the park is like no other Italian garden. Perhaps designed by Pirro Longorio and Simone Moschino to astonish and shock, the entrance gives way to a fantasy world, with surreal interpretations of ancient texts and sometimes, frankly weird sculptures. It is a good way to spend a few hours.

Giro d'Italia 2013

Aah, it's that special time again. When hundreds of lycra-clad men hurtle through beautiful countryside in the chase for pink. What am I talking about? The Giro d'Italia of course!!

Twenty-one stages, starting in Napoli, tracing the sole of Italy, migrating up the Adriatic coast, before traversing the cooler climes of the northern regions. Finishing in Brescia three weeks later, the Giro d'Italia is a grueling cycle race that pushes the very best. Unlike the last two years, there won't be a stage in Lazio or Umbria (see my previous posts for the routes and cultural highlights on the way). However, there's still plenty to look forward to!