Vulci Archaeological Naturalistic Park – extending over 900 hectares in the area near Montalto di Castro, Lazio – is fantastic in the literal sense of the word: it is made to spark your fancy.
Walk around the park and your imagination soars, and it’s not just for the atmosphere of antiquity (especially Etruscan and Roman) that envelops you. It’s not just the walls, domus, tombs, tumuli, bridge and medieval castle you encounter on your pathway that spur your mind to explore other worlds and other times.
Nature itself plays a part. Certain corners of the park disclose an untouched frontier in Italy, with Maremmana cows and wild horses free to graze anywhere they like, and ‘butteri’ – the local version of American cowboys – wading the river Fiora between the green walls of the surrounding forest.
Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the nearby shores of the small Lake Pellicone provided the setting for a scene from one of the most surreal and exhilarating films in the history of Italian cinema, “Nothing Left to Do But Cry”, in which two friends – played by Massimo Troisi and Roberto Benigni – are mysteriously projected back in time, in an outlandish and comical version of the Renaissance.
On the banks of the lake, the two men meet no other than Leonardo da Vinci, working on one of his most creative experiments.
Something as fantastic as that seems believable, in Vulci.