Mar 11, 2009

A trip, a trip, to the countryside

Tuesday of week two saw us wrap up warm and pack as much bus-friendly food as we possibly could, in preparation for a day long tiki tour north of Rome. Stops included Caprarola, Bagnaia and Bomarzo. Caprarola was reached after an arduous journey along some very windy, hilly road which was anything but bus-compatible. The town is basically a collection of very old houses clinging to the ridge of a big gorge. In the middle of it all is the rather imposing Villa Farnese. The villa is uninhabited, and basically remains a stop on the tourist tour. It feels a bit sad and unloved what with the big empty rooms. Out the back is a rather rambling woodsy type area that kept making me think of Beauty and the Beast (much to the dismay of my lecturer), which leads up to the garden proper, with a hedge maze and a large but sadly unused fountain. If anything, I think the hedge maze was the highlight of this stop.

Stop number two was the Castello Ruspoli in Vignanello. Vignanello is a tiny little town on a steep hill, with the castle quite likely being the largest building in the town. Streets are narrow, and we frequently passed under archways and up stone staircases to get to the castle.

Stop number three: Villa Lante in Bagnaia. Villa Lante was comissioned by Cardinal Gianfresco Gambarra, and it is the translation of his name, "crayfish," that drives the design of the Villa's famous feature series of fountains and water features.

Stop the last was the Sacro Bosco, or Moster Park - depending on the age of the visitor - at Bomarzo. The garden was created by Vicino Orsini to commemorate the death of his wife. Seems a bit strange to remember a loved one with monsters, but hey, it does make for an awfully interesting garden, so we weren't complaining. I think this is far too much text already, so without further ado, ze photographs:

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