OFF the beaten track 60 miles northwest of Rome stands one of the strangest witnesses on earth to man's love of the curious and bizarre. Near the Villa Orsini at Bomarzo is a whole sculpture garden of beasts and ogres carved from volcanic rock (see color pages) on the site. Rarely has sentiment taken a more bizarre turn. Created in the 1560s by Duke Pierfrancesco ("Vicino") Orsini, the sculpture garden was meant not only to astonish and delight, but to serve as a memorial to Orsini's deceased wife.

The garden was "rediscovered" when Salvador...

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