Etruscan pyramid

The Etruscan Pyramid in the Heart of the Sacred Wood of Bomarzo

The small town of Bomarzo in the province of Viterbo is famous for its Parco dei Mostri, a magical and enigmatic place that attracts visitors from every corner of the world. But among the foliage of the thick vegetation that surrounds the park hides an even more mysterious and fascinating secret: the Etruscan Pyramid of Bomarzo, also known as the 'Preacher's Stone'.
Table of contents:
  1. The glorious Etruscan civilisation
  2. Discovery in 1911
  3. Hero Salvatore Fosci
  4. A walk in nature

Clear traces of the Etruscan civilisation

Nestled in the woods of Tuscia, in the Tacchiolo area, the Etruscan Pyramid can be reached from the Park of the Monsters of Bomarzo. It is located in a context rich in artefacts from the Etruscan and prehistoric eraenveloped by what is called the Sacred Forest. Walking along paths that wind between cave dwellings, megalithic rocks, altars and places of worshipone is confronted with an authentic oasis of history and mystery. Even a ancient early Christian cemetery lurks nearby, adding further layers of fascination and enigma to this region steeped in thousands of years of history.

The Discovery of the Etruscan Pyramid

Discovered back in 1911, this extraordinary pyramid has long remained in the shadows, escaping the attention of official archaeology. It is a  imposing structure, approximately 10 metres highwith its steps that ifmends ascending towards the sky. Its truncated pyramid shape is reminiscent of the religious altars of the Maya culture. But its dating, like its true nature, remains shrouded in mystery. Its original function is still the subject of speculation and theories that fascinate fans of history, and archaeology. But the thrill of seeing it emerge from the shadows of the forest is indescribable, as if time stood still before this tangible testimony to a past yet to be revealed.

The Past Comes to Light

From the day of its discovery, for a long time the Etruscan Pyramid remained in a state of total abandonment. Only since 2008 has the pyramid tbrought to light thanks to the dedication of a local resident, Salvatore Fosci. For years, Salvatore has dedicated himself to cleaning the vegetation and maintaining the paths leading to this mysterious place, while also activating a ambitious promotional work to publicise the Pyramid of Bomarzo to the whole world. Thanks to him, it is now possible to visit this masterpiece carved in peperino stone that has spanned more than two millennia of history to make us feel part of the civilisations that preceded us.

Route through nature

The route to the Etruscan Pyramid is anything but easy, but it is full of charm and adventure. These are the site coordinates: 42° 30′ 17″ North and 12° 15′ 60″ East. The main entrance to La tagliata delle Rocchette is the starting point, and from there, through woods and paths, you walk for about 400 metres until you reach the double uphill signpost in the trees. It is here that the Etruscan Pyramid unveils its grandeurwith its two flights of stairs leading up to the high altar, where the Etruscan priest perhaps once offered rites to the gods of the underworld.

Chinese imperial boat

The Chinese Imperial Boat Hidden in the Woods of the Cimini Mountains

Tra i boschi rigogliosi della Tuscia Viterbese, c’è un luogo che ha il potere di trasportare il visitatore in un’altra dimensione spazio-temporale. Si tratta della Tenuta Sant’Egidio in cui i resti della sorprendente Chiesa della Santissima Trinità custodiscono una preziosa Barca Imperiale Cinese in marmo.
Table of contents:
  1. Where the boat is located
  2. L’amore per la Cina
  3. Extraordinary meeting
  4. The promise of conservation
  5. Brotherhood and respect between peoples

La Tenuta di Sant’Egidio

La Tenuta Sant’Egidio è un’area privata di circa 130 ettari sul versante Nord-Est del Monte Cimino, divenuta, per volontà dei proprietari, un educational forest. Passeggiando per i boschi della tenuta è possibile ammirare monumental oak and beech trees, caves, springs and rocky outcrops. E poi all’improvviso i resti delle mura di una chiesa, la Santissima Trinità, risalente al secolo XIII e per secoli eremo di monaci. Insieme a ciò che resta dell’antica chiesa una striking and alienating Chinese imperial boat in white marble. Ma come è arrivata qui questa barca e perché?

I Benedetti e l’Amore per la Cina

La Barca Imperiale Cinese è giunta in Italia grazie all’Italian entrepreneur-philanthropist Eugenio Benedetti, padre di Azzurra Benedetti, l’attuale presidente dell’Associazione GEA da cui è nata l’idea del bosco didattico. Eugenio, soprannominato “il nuovo Marco Polo”, era in love with the People's Republic of China e per molti anni ha viaggiato in tutto il paese, contribuendo alla sua rinascita economica e culturale. Una delle sue operazioni più famose è stata l’apertura di 34 cave di marmo sui monti dell’Hebei e dell’Honan, tutt’oggi funzionanti, da cui viene estratto uno dei marmi più belli del mondo. Nel 1965 Eugenio ebbe anche l’opportunità di conoscere l’Last Chinese Emperor Pu Yikey character in unravelling the mystery of the Viterbo imperial boat.

An extraordinary meeting

Ormai declassato a semplice cittadino e nominato capo dei Giardini del Palazzo Imperiale d’Estate di Pechino, Pu Yi incaricò Eugenio di salvare e restaurare la barca costruita nel 1865 in occasione del sessantesimo compleanno dell’imperatrice Ci Xi, sua madre. La barca è ancora oggi ormeggiata sul fiume Kunming al Palazzo di Pechino. Nella Cina antica le barche erano true masterpieces of craftsmanshipused to transport precious goods along the rivers and canals of the vast Chinese empire. The imperial boat was a symbol of respect, power and elegance.

Restoration and Conservation

L’operazione di conservazione riuscì e fu molto apprezzata dal governo cinese; Eugenio per i suoi 75 anni ricevette in dono, come ringraziamento per il suo operato, 100 tonnes of white marble composed of 3,000 hand-carved and chiselled pieces. The material was used for costruire una riproduzione in scale 1:3 della barca dell’imperatrice Ci Xi, come segno d’amore dalla Cina all’Italia. La barca imperiale fu poi posizionata all’interno della tenuta, dove Eugenio ha espresso la volontà di essere sepolto quando arriverà il suo momento.

Symbol of brotherhood between peoples

Ecco quindi spiegato il mistero. La barca imperiale cinese della Tenuta Sant’Egidio è più di un semplice monumento; è un homage to brotherhood between different cultures, un simbolo di pace e collaborazione tra popoli. Ma, soprattutto, è la rappresentazione dell’amore di un figlio verso la madre e dell’interconnessione tra culture apparentemente lontane tra loro. La barca imperiale in marmo nel cuore della Tuscia Viterbese è una precious testimony to historyan indelible memory of great modern characters. A historical memory to be preserved and handed down to future generations.

The Castle Wheel

The Mysterious Object: The Wheel of Torre Alfina Castle

In a hidden room of the castle is an enigmatic vertically mounted iron wheel. What is it and what was the wheel of Torre Alfina Castle used for?

Objects used in past eras often appear mysterious and intriguing to our contemporary eyes. Beneath the appearance of simple artefacts are often hidden ingenious and innovative solutions that have marked the history and daily lives of people. One of these fascinating objects is the large Iron wheel of the Torre Alfina Castleobject that played a key role in the distribution of water in the rooms of theancient dwelling.

Table of contents:
  1. L’accesso all’acqua nelle dimore medievali
  2. Bathing culture during the Renaissance
  3. Testimonianza storica dell’ingegno umano

Water in Medieval Dwellings

In general, medieval castles and noble residences were equipped with wells, cisterns and decorative tanks, often located in inner courtyards or gardens. These structures served as domestic water access points. But in the Middle Ages, the need for water was limited almost exclusively to cooking. There were no plumbing or sewage systems. Toilets, when present, were either open seats directly on the moat or on holding tanks. Personal hygiene was an unknown concept. Only gentlemen indulged in the occasional bath in a basin and there were no real bathing rooms. The water distribution was therefore entrusted to servants who filled buckets or other containers and carried them to the kitchen or to the stately rooms to satisfy daily needs.

Renaissance and Bath Culture

It was not until the Renaissance period that a new functional bathroom concept. The increased care devoted to personal hygiene, the drive towards refinement and comfort for the environment dedicated to body practices, led to the need to create a mechanised water distribution system and more efficient.
So we come to the unravelling of our mystery. The large iron wheel of the Torre Alfina Castle is a flywheel, a heavy disc connected to a hand pump which allowed water to be drawn from the cistern located in the castle courtyard. By operating the large wheel, the water rose to fill other cisterns strategically placed on the towers. From here, using gravitational force, water flowed through an intricate system of pipes to reach all the rooms in the castle.

Testimony of Human Ingenuity

The flywheel of the Torre Alfina Castle remained in operation until 1960when the manual pump was replaced by an electric one. Despite this the distribution system remained unchanged and water continues to supply the castle rooms by cascading down from the castle towers. Today it represents a historical testimony to the power of human ingenuity of transforming an everyday object into a fundamental instrument of innovation. The preservation of objects no longer in use represents a tangible testimony of our historical and technological evolution. Keeping the memory of these objects alive, we preserve the link with our past. These objects are not mere relics, but bridges connecting the past to the future, offering valuable perspectives on our ever-evolving journey.

The Lady Restless of Torre Alfina Castle

The Castle of Torre Alfina seems to be inhabited by the restless spirit of a mysterious lady who wanders the rooms and the garden without being able to find peace. Staff and visitors talk of apparitions and objects that move. And the Ghost Hunters also intervene.

Ancient dwellings are fascinating places in which the lives of mysterious characters and protagonists are intertwined. The majestic Torre Alfina Castle is a place rich in history and, apparently, inhabited by the spirit of a mysterious woman, nicknamed the 'Lady Restless'.

Table of contents:
  1. Evidence of moving objects
  2. Traces of presences in the castle
  3. Footprints in the garden
  4. Ghost hunters on the hunt for evidence

Moving Objects

It all stems from a series of direct testimonies of people who were allegedly witnesses of inexplicable events. The most recent was that of a married couple who had decided to stay overnight in the castle over Christmas. As a member of staff was about to open the door to their room, a crib with a very heavy glass bell on top suddenly shifted about 20 centimetres, crashing to the ground and shattering the bell into a thousand pieces.

Bell Apparitions and Unexplained Footsteps

But the evidence goes back even further. It is said that the staff who worked in the castle during the period of ownership Cahen (late 19th and early 20th century) would have witnessed even more disturbing events. Lilting footsteps in the old servants' corridor on the third level of the castle, without anyone arriving; the servants' call bell ringing inexplicably in the historic kitchen, without anyone having operated it. It even seems that a female figure was seen descending the 19th century staircase leading to the castle's main floor or suddenly materialise near the statue of the violin player.

Indelible Footprints in the Courtyard

And again. In November 2021, the castle gardener notices areas of grassless grass in the courtyard lawn, as if someone walking had left his footprint directly on the earth. Months pass, the grass dries up and only earth remains. The following spring, the grass is lush and green again, except along that mysterious walk, barren footprints that start in a corner of the courtyard and fade into nothingness.

Ghost Hunters speak

The interest aroused by these unexplained events also involved a team of Roman Ghost Hunters. The group installed cameras, a high-sensitivity recorder, a thermal imaging camera and an infrared and ultraviolet camera in the castle rooms. Although they did not record any striking paranormal events, the thermal camera seems to have detected athermal alteration on a chair of the ceremonial hall, although no one was seated there.

Like all historical residences, the Torre Alfina Castle remains a fascinating place full of enigmaswhere history, mystery and folklore intertwine in a unique atmosphere. We therefore look forward to a new manifestation of the Lady Without Peace, in the hope of discovering her identity, her story and thus being able to give her the longed-for eternal rest.

en_GBEnglish (UK)