February 1, 2023
Bomarzo is a magical garden filled with statues from Roman mythology. You can visit this serene place and see gods, creatures, temples, and mossy scenery. Civita di Bagnoregio is a small town suspended on cliffs surrounded by beautiful canyons. It can only be reached by foot by a cobblestone path but it is filled with charming houses, little restaurants and small shops.
I had never previously heard of Bomarzo and Civita di Bagnoregio before traveling to Italy. Of course there is Venice, Tuscany, Florence, Naples, and all the cities that people recommend to see around Italy, but this town and garden is not often talked about. I ended up visiting for a day trip with students from my university, and I do not regret it!
After all, when traveling to a new place, it can be fun to explore lesser known places. Here are some of the things I learned:
It’s more than just a statue.
What’s fascinating about the statues of Bomarzo is that they were meant to represent not only what they are depicting, but the universe as a whole. Just like when we look at a picture, there are memories, feelings, and stories. The picture becomes more than just a picture, it carries meaning. In this way, our tour guide explained that these statues are meant to represent the whole world; the creation of the universe, the people living in it, and the stories of life. Thus, the monsters and mythical gods became more than just statues for me. Once I took a moment to ponder the stories of the garden, it felt alive.
Slow down, take your time.
It goes without saying that we often have hectic lives. There are countless things to do in a day, and not enough time. Visiting Civita di Bagnoregio, I was forced to take a step back from my busy life and experience the present. Walking through the quiet cobblestone streets, I could see that people lead a very different lifestyle, a more simple one. Seeing the potted plants near a doorway, a cat trotting by, a small perfume shop, or a vegetable garden, all made the place seem more magical and different from the life I know. I found myself really appreciating this town, and wishing to stay longer. Civita di Bagnoregio gave me a new perspective on what life can be.
Happiness can be in simple things.
Leaning on a brick fence in Civita di Bagnoregio, watching the scenery change in the setting sun beyond, I felt a moment of peace and happiness. Looking around me I saw that a few of the other students felt the same. Something about spending the day in this place, visiting the garden and the city, made us ponder life a little bit. We were able to appreciate the simplest things around us, and find joy throughout the day. It was an unforgettable experience, one that I hope I have convinced you to experience yourself as well.
In the end, Bomarzo and Civita di Bagnoregio are a hidden gem I would recommend anyone to see. The garden and town are truly magical to experience and taught me lessons that I will take with me throughout my study abroad journey in the future.
Written by: Marta, Spring 2023 Rome student from Colorado State University