Apennine Colossus Back on Display at Villa Pratolino near Florence

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 05:17
Giant Apennine

The Giant Apennine (Gigante dell’Appennino) sculpture is back on display at the Villa di Pratolino near Florence, after it had been closed to visitors for three years due to restoration work.

The colossal, ten-meter-high sculpture was made by Giambologna in 1579-80. It originally seemed to emerge from the vaulted rockwork niche that once surrounded it, standing in a watchful pose as if guarding the pond below it. Inside, it featured caves decorated with frescoes, rooms and inner passageways. A small marble statue of “Venerina” has been placed inside one of the caves, while the skin of the giant has been cleaned to bring back the original colors. Under the giant’s left hand, the water flowing from the mouth of a snake is running again.

The Villa di Pratolino was a Renaissance villa built by the solitary Francesco I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany in part to please his Venetian mistress, Bianca Capello. It was mostly demolished in 1820: its remains are now part of Villa Demidoff, which is located 12 km north of Florence, precisely in Vaglia.