In Rome there are thousands of churches, old buildings, villas, and each one has an incredibly ornate, decorative design, be it churches with images of Jesus Christ and the saints or famous paintings of the Renaissance. But perhaps the most unusual, hilarious, and quirky building is Zuccari Palace, AKA The Monster House.
This “Monster House” is so called from one facade of the building, which features large monster faces with their mouths gaping wide, in the process of swallowing the doors and windows.
This palace was built by the famous Baroque artist Federico Zuccari in 1590 as a studio for himself and his children. For the facade facing Via Gregoriana, Zuccari drew inspiration from the Gardens of Bomarzo, located in northern Lazio, Italy. The architectural style of the building, both praised and criticized, soon became the hot spot for aspiring artisans in the area. After Zuccari’s death, the building changed hands many times. The Queen of Poland lived here in 1702 and for decades the house was a center of high society in Rome. Later on, the palace became an inn for foreign artists. In 1900, Henrietta Hertz, the last owner, left her collection of paintings to the Italian state, allowing the creation of the famous Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, which is housed in the building today.
Know Before You Go
Close to Spagna subway station.
- Lovatelli, Ginerva, Adriano Morabito, Jacopo Barbarigo, and Alessandra Zucconi. Secret Rome. Versailles, France: B Editions Jonglez, 2012. Print.