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Florence’s Secret Spot: Colosso Dell’Appennino

Colosso Dell’Appennino
Giambologna, Colosso Dell'Appeninno, Villa di Pratolino, Italy. Photograph by Noa Weisberg

Art Travels

Florence’s Secret Spot: Colosso Dell’Appennino

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

Colosso Dell’Appennino

Giambologna, Colosso Dell’Appeninno, Villa di Pratolino, Italy. Photograph by Noa Weisberg

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.

Colosso Dell’Appennino

Giambologna, Architecture, ca. 1570, Museo del Bargello, Florence. Wikimedia Commons

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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Noa is an undergraduate Art History student who lives just outside Tel Aviv. She enjoys traveling the globe, visiting exciting art exhibitions and overanalysing the hidden symbolism of various TV shows.


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