La Scarzuola ( The Scarlet)
La Scazuola is a utopian architectural dreamworld and fantasy garden of strange statues, stairways, buildings, monuments and theatres with beautiful paths, trees and gardens perfectly integrated to transport you to another dimension. Initially established as a convent, the restoration was conceived, designed and created by Tomasso Buzzi when he acquired the site in 1957. Buzzi was inspired by ancient stories, alchemic symbols and esoteric motifs in the pursuit of his imagined ideal city located just 44 km from Todi in the village of Montegiove in the Province of Terni.
The site was originally a 13th Century convent associated with the order of St Francis of Assisi but abandoned in the 19th Century. After purchasing the convent in 1957 Thomasso Buzzi converted the site into a multi-faceted architectural complex with the intention of establishing an ideal city.
The site was first mentioned in a chronicle of 1218 as the location Saint Francis built a hut and planted a rose and a laurel tree from which water miraculously gushed. The convent was significantly renovated in the 16th century. The church was the site of burial for most of the Counts of Marsciano who had commissioned the original construction, but the last interment there was recorded in 1820, after which it was partially abandoned.
The convent lay in ruins for most of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, when it caught the eye of the already accomplished Tomaso Buzzi.
Buzzi was a successful Milanese architect and interior designer, and was enchanted by the partially ruined site. He purchased it in 1957 and, subsequently, dedicated the rest of his life to the construction of his complex there. He restored what remained of the convent and built a large complex of buildings and theatres behind the convent mainly using stone from the convent ruins. He built seven amphitheatres of varying sizes, which represented what Buzzi thought of as the inherent theatricality of life. He also built several structures and statues depicting different stages of his life,such as a giant stone female torso to represent lust, and a miniature Tower of Babel to represent vanity. Many of these structures have esoteric and alchemical meanings. Perhaps the most striking feature of the complex is the miniature city, which contains representations of buildings including Temple of Vesta, Arc de Triomphe and the Torre dell’Orologio in Mantua. All of these elements come together to represent Buzzi's interpretation of the ideal city.
After dedicating more than two decades of his life to the creation and manifestation of this wonderland, Milanese architect Buzzi died in 1981, leaving his vision unfinished. Ultimately, it was completed by his nephew Marco Solari and today, La Scarzuola is an outstanding testament to imaginative genius and tenacity of its creator and family.
Solari pursued the dream and design of Buzzi in La Scarzuola for forty years, manifesting the design and bringing a spiritual energy to the place. He also dedicated himself to building the project , repairing the Franciscan complex, and infusing the stones with a breath of vitality, bringing forth an ancestral vibration and illuminating hidden hieroglyphs. Visitors are surrounded by surreal, dreamlike, irreverent, and unruly pathways that lead through the garden and volcanic rock, evoking melodies that resonate with this great work and take the soul back in time.