La Scarzuola is a rural town in Umbria, located in the Montegiove hamlet of the municipality of Montegabbione, in the province of Terni. It is well known for the ancient convent where, according to tradition, St. Francis of Assisi lived, and for the villa in the form of a “city-theater”, conceived and built in the twentieth century by the Milanese architect Tomaso Buzzi as a personal interpretation of the theme of the “ideal city”.
From 1958 to 1978, the architect designed and built, in the small valley behind the convent, a large theatrical scenography that he defined as “an anthology in stone”, which was voluntarily left unfinished, which allowed the recovery of visual experiences of the past.
The complex develops inside a spiral formed by the pergolas. Within these there is a vertical axis that from the skeletal statue of the Pegasus, through a system of terraces, leads to an amphitheater, gradually to the agnostic theater, to the grassy theater, to finish at the broken column tower and a horizontal axis delimited on the left from the bee theater, in the center by the stage with musical labyrinth, and on the right by the city of Buzziana with the Acropolis at its peak.
A contradictory relationship of an initiatory type is established between the ancient convent and the intellectualistic factories of the theater, overloaded with symbols and secrets, references and quotations: from allusions to both pagan and Christian divinities, to memories of the Villas of Pliny, to “AB OLIMPO” of Montagna, to the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili by Frate Colonna, to the unrealized ideas of Francesco Borromini and Filarete.