The “Monster House” of Rome

In 1590, Italian painter and architect Federico Zuccari built Zuccari Palace to be his studio. When he died, he wanted the studio to a meeting place for artists of all kind, with the living quarters left for poor, “starving” artists. Unfortunately, when Zuccari died in 1609, he was destitute, so his heirs rented it out to wealthy tenants and dignitaries.

But that’s not why we are writing about the Zuccari Palace. We are writing about Zuccari Palace because it is sometimes called “The Monster House.” All the windows and doors are framed by gaping demon maws, which look ready to take a bite out of uninvited guests. In my research of Zuccari and his “palace,” I could not find any reason for the demon facade. It doesn’t seem to be a common theme in his art; there are no legends associated with it. It just looks really cool.


Zuccari Palace is currently home to Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History.

Sources: Bibliotheca Hertziana,

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