The most amusing house in all of Italy, this folly was designed in 1591 by noted painter Federico Zuccaro to form a monster's face. Typical of the outré Mannerist style of the period, the eyes are the house's windows; the entrance portal is through the monster's mouth. Zuccaro (1540–1609)—whose frescoes adorn many Roman churches, including Trinità del Monti just up the block—sank all of his money into his new home, dying in debt before his curious memorial, as it turned out to be, was completed. Today, it is the property of the Biblioteca Hertziana, Rome's prestigious fine-arts library; its long-term renovation project, which left the building covered in scaffolding, is due to finish in spring 2015. Leading up to the quaint Piazza Trinità del Monti, Via Gregoriana is a real charmer and has long been one of Rome's most elegant addresses, home to such residents as French 19th-century painter Ingres and famed couturier Valentino's first couture salon.
Via Gregoriana 30, Rome, Latium, 00187, Italy