Sunday, April 13, 2008

My trip out to Bomarzo, the monster garden, was supposed to be a test of my power at navigating the Italian rail system before I left Rome for Siena. When I arrived in Assigliano I left the train station and, having learned nothing from the previous two days of getting lost in Rome, figured that Attigliano was a small enough town that I couldn't help but find signs for Bomarzo. (I'm interested to see when I get back how many miles I walked not knowing where I was going in Rome.) I headed in a vague direction and, sure enough, found the end of Attigliano, but that was not where Bomarzo was to be found. Bomarzo was to be found nowhere. I guess when you're a crazy hunchback decorating your family's garden with mannerist monster sculptures, you do it a ways away from the nearest town.

So I headed back to the train station to ask, figuring that what I would get is the typical Italian waving and pointing. They start out with "Es molto simplico, si? Very simple!" and then keep going at breakneck pace. The only word I ever get is "sinistra," so I'm usually pretty sure that where I'm going is to the left of something or another, if I follow the direction of the pointing. So when I got back to the train station I asked the lady, "Bomarzo?" and she looked at me flatly. "No Bomarzo. No autobus. No taxi."

There isn't a way to argue with that, so I went back to the platform and waited in a strong wind for the train back to Rome. Instead of monsters, I saw San Pietro in Vincoli and an Etruscan temple to Mithras. Wish it had been the monsters, though.

(Just you wait for the next installment, when I get lost in Siena on the bus. So far it's proving hard to get terribly lost in Florence, because it's little, but if anyone can do it it's me.)

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