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Once upon a time there was a young nobleman who, after the death of his beloved wife, became so distraught with grief and anguish that he decided to build a garden in her memory to give vent to his aching heart. That young nobleman was the Duke of Bomarzo, an Italian named Pier Francesco Orsini, better known as Vicino, and his wife was Giulia Farnese, who died in 1560. The strange and melancholy garden he constructed is called Sacro Bosco, or the "Sacred Grove", and it still stands in a wooded valley in Bomarzo, a small town about 90 km north of Rome.

The garden is populated by macabre and grotesque sculptures intended not to please but to shock visitors. A huge elephant carries a trampled soldier, a giant tears apart his enemy by the legs, a dragon combats two lions and a colossal mouth gapes open to swallow visitors.


Photo credit: Bo&Ko/Flickr

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© Amusing Planet, 2017.


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