Although La Scarzuola began as a Franciscan monastery, today's architectural wonderland has little to do with religion or piety. La Scarzuola is the work of Milanese architect Tomaso Buzzi who acquired the property for his own dreamland in 1956.
Buzzi began working on La Scarzuola to create a complex representing the ideal city. His vision intended to blend reality with surrealist architecture and fantasy. His architectural styles are varied and range from Classical to Medieval and even Renaissance, all completed with a personal flair from the artist. Buzzi's flair tended toward the surreal, and La Scarzuola shows his influences with stairways leading in multiple directions, along with a few fantastical statues of creatures and headless naked women.
His work spans the body of surrealism from Dali and Miro to M.C. Escher, echoing their dark works in his immense compound. All together, the compound has seven small theaters, multiple grottoes and reflecting pools, and even a replica of the Arc de Triomphe. Each work is carefully constructed to represent the inner thoughts of the artist, as well as a blend of the philosophical tenets that guided his life. Although the styles and buildings change by the meter in the compound, his overall surrealistic approach is defined especially through the random scattering of quotes and strange symbols placed in La Scarzuola.
Considered the artist's autobiography, La Scarzuola is deeply personal and those familiar with the artist will find him in every brick laid in the compound. After his death in 1981, his nephew continued to work on La Scarzuola, eventually completing the vision his uncle had for his ideal city.