Orcus sculpture in the Gardens of Bomarzo in Bomarzo, Italy
© Scott Wilson/Alam
Park of the Monsters. 'Park of the Monsters,' Bomarzo, Italy
Join us for a pre-Halloween trip to a small Italian town about 60 miles northwest of Rome. We're taking you to Bomarzo, where a once-forgotten 16th-century garden holds monstrous sculptures that are meant to evoke anything but pleasure. In our photo, 'The Mouth of Orcus,' a Roman god of the underworld and punisher of broken oaths, gives visitors the feeling of being swallowed into the abyss. During a visit to the Parco dei Mostri (Park of the Monsters), as it's known, you'll come across other grotesque sights such as a dragon being attacked by lions, a giant shredding a man, and Hannibal's elephant snatching a Roman soldier.
Nearly 500 years after their creation, the grotesque figures still evoke a feeling of horror, perhaps as they were always meant to do. They were commissioned by Bomarzo's Duke Vicino Orsini as a way to cope with his grief upon the death of his wife.