Art Travels

Florence’s Secret Spot: Colosso Dell’Appennino

Noa Weisberg 20 October 2018 min Read

A 30-minute drive from central Florence lies a true Tuscan secret: the sixteenth-century sculpture Colosso Dell'Appennino by Giambologna.

[caption id="attachment_16631" align="alignnone" width="1355"]Colosso Dell’Appennino Giambologna, Colosso Dell'Appeninno, Villa di Pratolino, Italy. Photograph by Noa Weisberg[/caption] Florence, Italy is home to Renaissance masterpieces such as Michelangelo’s David, Botticelli’s Birth of Venus and Brunelleschi’s dome of the Florence Cathedral. It is an art lover’s dream to visit a place with such historical and cultural importance. But there are also many lesser-known artworks in the surrounding towns and parks. One of them is the Colosso Dell’Appennino, or the Giant of the Apennines, located in Pratolino. This Renaissance monument was carved out of local rock between 1579 and 1580. It rises 12 meters high and sets in front of a big pond in a former Medici estate. The artist, Giambologna (born Jean Boulogne), was a sculptor from Northern Europe who moved to Italy in 1550. Some of his other works are presented today in different spots in Florence, such as the Bargello Museum. [caption id="attachment_16652" align="aligncenter" width="553"]Colosso Dell’Appennino Giambologna, Architecture, ca. 1570, Museo del Bargello, Florence. Wikimedia Commons[/caption] The Tuscan terrain surrounding this sculpture is sunny and beautiful. In contrast, The Giant looks a little bleak — he hunches over while his gaze strays over the pond below him. The choice of a personification of nature over a classical or Christian motif is also quite odd. One study suggests that The Giant symbolises the mourning of the High Renaissance — Italy’s artistic golden age. The study also mentions that the artwork’s patron, Francesco de Medici, had a taste for melancholic yet heroic art. Today the visitors can enjoy this newly reconstructed, man-made artwork. The peaceful nature around it makes it only more impressive.

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