A Franciscan convent founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1218, who planted a laurel and rose bush here and caused a water spring to gush, it is called after a marsh plant, The Scarza, which the saint used to build himself a hut. The church apse houses a fresco of the first half of the eighteenth century depicting a levitating Saint Francis.
In 1956 the convent complex was bought and restored by Milan architect Tomaso Buzzi (1900-1981), who, between 1958 amd 1978, planned and erected his own Ideal City, envisaged as a theatrical machinery, next to the convent. Buzzi’s city, which includes as many as 7 theatres, culminates in the Acropolis, a wealth of buildings consisting of a number of archetypes which, empty inside and equipped with as many volumes as one might find in a termites nest, reveal a number of vistas. A somewhat esoteric relationship was thus established between the convent (the holy city) and the theatrical workshops (the lay city), both of them laden with symbols and secrets, references and quotations. Drawing its inspiration from Francesco Colonna’s Hypererotomachia Poliphili (1499), the style best interpreting its licence is the neo-mannerism he identified in the use of stairs in all directions, the deliberate disproportion of some parts, a few gargoyles, the heaping together of buildings and monuments, resulting in a whole characterised by a surreal, labyrinthine, evocative, geometric, astronomical and magic nature.
05010 Montegabbione – Italy