|The "Hellmouth" - It was also a 16th-century dining room. Parco dei Mostri, Bomarzo.|
The hellmouth is an ambiguous, hybrid structure, Morgan says. It was used as an outdoor dining room. And so, he posits, it's the scene of devouring (nourishment, pleasure) and being devoured (death, dread). There is, according to this author, a theme of violence in the gardens that has been lost or downplayed by other writers.
|Another fine monster in the Parco dei Mostri.|
With Morgan's new approach to these parks, you too can re-visit them and enjoy them with fresh insights. He approaches these "grotesques" or "monsters" as ambivalent or contradictory, rather than the "insipid idea of the garden" that has been the province of modern scholarship. Morgan essentially reclaims the monster/grotesque as a complex, multi-valent figure, rather than simply "ugliness and horror," as Edmund Wilson described Bomarzo.
Focusing mainly on the "Parco dei Mostri" and Tivoli's Villa d'Este, the book is a trove of ideas for looking at their sculptures.
Among Italian garden aficionados, it's common knowledge that Tivoli has the Rometta fountain, the personification of Rome, at one end, and Tivoli at the other. Morgan adds to this interpretation by pointing out it's the metropolis at one end, the spa town at the other, another example of polarities.
|The "Rometta fountain." There are many Rome identifiers, including the Dea Roma (Goddess Rome), top center; the|
Lupa with Romulus and Remus, above right; the boat fountain from Piazza di Spagna; and the Obelisk. Villa d'Este, Tivoli.
|"Fountain of Nature" - and what are all those spouts?|
Villa d'Este, Tivoli.
|A closer look at the...what?|
animals? on the Fountain of
|And he posits, maybe these are not breasts.|
|The leaning house in Bomarzo: the point between|
good and bad.
Bringing up an old example of fake news, Morgan discusses the "false book of antiquities" that argued Viterbo was the cradle of an Etruscan civilization founded by a race of noble giants, surpassing Rome. He notes the park's fake Etruscan tomb that he calls a "deliberate ruin or 'folly' that even has a picturesque (fake) fracture." In other words, this is a simulated ruin.
|A fake Etruscan tomb - this one in Ariccia's Parco Chigi.|
|A threatening (and large-spouted) hybrid female in Villa d'Este.|
|A hybrid in Villa Sciarra, Rome (think she's a force for good?|
note the skull). Once you start looking for these creatures,
they seem to be everywhere.
|Another Hellmouth - this one in Villa Aldobrandini, Frascati.|
|And a fine small restaurant|
after viewing all those
monsters l'Ape 50, in Tivoli.
|Tourists enjoying the many spouts. Villa d'Este.|
|Required shot of one of the gorgeous Villa d'Este vistas - sans monsters.|