Il Parco dei Mostri di Bomarzo
The Park of the Monsters of Bomarzo was intended not to please, but to astonish, and like many Mannerist works of art, its symbolism is arcane: examples are a large sculpture of one of Hannibal’s war elephants, which mangles a Roman legionary, or the statue of Ceres lounging on the bare ground, with a vase of verdure perched on her head.
The many monstrous statues appear to be unconnected to any rational plan and appear to have been strewn almost randomly about the area, sol per sfogare il Core (“just to set the heart free”) as one inscription in the obelisks says.
The surreal nature of the Parco dei Mostri appealed to Jean Cocteau and the great surrealist Salvador Dalí, who discussed it at great length.
(This was my favorite place in all of Italy.)