Palazzetto Zuccaro

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Palazzetto Zuccaro

This amusing palazzo 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 and the entrance portal is through the monster's mouth. Zuccaro (1540–1609)—whose frescoes adorn many Roman churches, including Trinità dei 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 home to the German state-run Bibliotheca Hertziana, a prestigious fine-arts library. Access is reserved for scholars, but the pristine facade can be admired for free. Leading up to the quaint Piazza della Trinità del Monti, the nearby Via Gregoriana is quite charming and has long been one of Rome's most elegant addresses, home to such residents as 19th-century French painter Ingres and Valentino's first couture salon.

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