Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, fortress & former royal residence

La Scarzuola – The sacred and the ideal city
When madness and genius walk hand in hand

Montegabbione, Umbria/Italy (2018) – Hidden in the middle of nowhere land, nestled in an Umbrian forest lie two very special and magical places right next to each other, called "La Scarzuola" – "The Sacred City" and "The Ideal City". Visitors enter the historic former Franciscan monastery and walk right into a dream land, the very surreal world of Tomaso Buzzi (1900 - 1981). The famous Milanese avant-garde architect, eminent and influential in the 1920s and 1930s in Italy, acquired the monastery and the land around it in 1956 to realize his dream of his "Ideal City". Buzzi first restored the monastery and spent the next twenty years in planning and building his very personal project. He built his Città Buzziana based on seven overlapping theaters, incorporating structures from Classical, Gothic to Renaissance and the surrealism of Dali, Miro and Escher. "La Scarzuola" is a very spiritual place owned today by Buzzi's nephew Marco Solari who inherited it 1982 and continued to work on La Scarzuola, eventually completing his uncle's vision of the "Ideal City". Today Solari lives Buzzi's dream in this architectural wonderland. A few times a day he even invites visitors in to let them see what dreams can be made of. He takes them on a spiritual and unusual journey through the magical Città Buzziana and he starts by asking: "Are you elastic?"
  
A literally fantastic treasure in the middle of Umbria's nowhere land
"If things were easy to find, most likely they wouldn't be worth finding!" How true. And if what you are looking for is reviewed and labeled by others as "weird" or "crazy", one more reason to look for it because it's definitely worth to be found. Even though the travel includes long winding roads in the middle of nowhere and driving through woods you normally wouldn't. La Scarzuola is such place you should look for, a fantastic treasure in the middle of Umbria's nowhere land. 
 
It is said, that Saint Francis of Assisi had built a hut out of the marsh plant "scarza" right there. When he also planted a laurel and a rose next to his hut, water had gushed out, making it a miracle. The spring is still present today. Thanks to this miracle, many men had joined the Saint in the following years which led Saint Francis in 1218 to found the "La Scarzuola Convent". In the 16th century the convent as we know it today was born and a church was built on the property in honor of Saint Francis and his miracle. Since there was no convent activity for a long time, it was possible for the Milanese architect Tomaso Buzzi to purchase the land "with all on it" in the mid of 20th century. "Very much to the dislike of the family", tells Buzzi's nephew, Marco Solari on his tour, "nobody knew then what he wanted to do with such a place, out in the middle of nowhere." 
 
What Buzzi wanted was to realize his lifelong dream to built his own city, according to his believes and vision. The Città Buzziana should be something like an "ideal city", build right next to "La Scarzuola", which to Buzzi embodied the "sacred city". The famous architect from Milan thought of his creation as "the small Pompei of a single and lonely man". The core of his city, so his plan, would have to consist of theaters, because life to him was nothing but theatrical. 
    
  
Tomaso Buzzi dreamed of the "ideal city" and built one
Tomaso Buzzi was going to build a magical place in the middle of a forest, far away from civilization and nothing could stop him. He worked 20 years on his Città Ideale. He built seven theaters, miniature versions of the Parthenon, the Coliseum, the Pantheon, the Triumph Arch, the Pyramid, the Bell Tower and the Temple of Vesta as well as stairs everywhere leading to nowhere, just like he was going to incorporate M. C. Escher's optical illusions. Even if he never would live there in his lifetime, Buzzi supposedly said during his work on his city, his astral body would for sure. And thanks to his nephew's identification with this fairytale place, it feels like where ever you go, the great builder of "The Ideal City" is still present. When Tomaso Buzzi passed away in 1981 and his nephew Marco Solari, who inherited the land, devoted his life to completing his uncles project strictly according to the planning Buzzi had left. 
 
Solari is quite a character who gives visitors today not only a unique tour through the property. He offers interesting insights into the life of Tomaso Buzzi but also depending on the day and the crowd some thoughts about life in general. Visitors are best advised to not take negative reviews too serious, but let Solari capture you. Who doesn't listen, won't understand what he has to say or tries to say. Walking with him through the property feels like madness and genius are walking hand in hand next to you. But it becomes clear pretty fast that La Scarzuola can only be understood if someone special opens not only the eyes but also the minds of the visitors stepping from "The Sacred City" into "The Ideal City". Therefore the question he asks in the beginning of the tour "Are you elastic?" serves the purpose, to prepare for what comes next.
 
La Scarzuola is a private property and can, once found, be visited by appointment, entry fee is 10 Euro/person.  More information   here

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