La Scarzuola is an architectural complex in Umbria, located in Montegiove hamlet in the comune of Montegabbione, Terni Province, Italy. This was the land of St. Francis of Assisi and it is believed that the Saint himself planted a laurel and a rose here in 1218. Miraculously, water gushed forth from a bare rock near where he had planted them and the site of Montegiove became a place of worship. La Scarzuola was partially abandoned in the 19th Century.
La Scarzuola was originally the site of a 13th Century convent associated with St. Francis of Assisi
Things really get interesting in the 1950s when a well-known Milanese architect named Tomaso Buzzi purchased the property. His plan was to build the “Ideal City” (la Città Ideale) which would juxtapose with the monastery: the holy and the profane. Buzzi was extremely well-studied in art and humanities and constructed his Ideal City in seven overlapping theaters all culminating at the acropolis.
Buzzi’s plan was to build the “Ideal City” which would juxtapose with the monastery
Each theater draws inspiration from places like Villa Adriana in Tivoli and resembles architectural masterpieces like the Pantheon, the Parthenon, the Arc de Triomphe, the Colosseum, the Bell Tower, the Pyramids, and the Temple of Vesta. The trained eye will see evidence of Dali, Miro, and Escher. Staircases leading to nowhere and grotesque, monstrous buildings are all part of the mystique.
Buzzi did not get to complete his dream and left one theater unfinished at the time of his death in 1981. His nephew, Marco Solari, also an architect, inherited the property and brought his uncle’s lifetime dream of the Ideal City to fruition.
Buzzi says: ‘An oasis for gathering, for study, for work, for music and silence, for greatness and misery, for a social life and a hermitic life of contemplation in solitude, reign of fantasy, of fairy tales, of myths, of echoes and reflections outside of time and space so that each can find here echoes of the past and hints of the future.’