FLORENCE, ITALY – The restoration work at the fountain of Neptune started in Piazza Signoria, Florence. The yard was equipped with transparent walls to allow tourists and citizens to monitor the progress of work.
A webcam and a program of guided tours allow to follow step by step the rebirth of the Biancone (the name by which the Florentines call the statue), one of the best known and best loved monuments of Florence.
The restoration of the Neptune
The cost of renovation amounts to 1.5 million euro in the period 2016-18, with funding from the fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo through the Art Bonus, which allows companies to deduct from tax the sums paid to protect the public heritage.
The first phase of work will last one year and will cost 600,000 euros. The project is managed by the Technical and Fine Arts of the City (Company executrix RAM).
The Ammannati’s fountain
The fountain was commissioned in 1565 and is the work of the sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati.
Ammannati (1563–1565) and his assistants, such as Giambologna, were commissioned to design and complete the work on the occasion of the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici with Joanna of Austria in 1565. The assignment had first been given to Baccio Bandinelli, who designed the model but he died before he could start working on the block of Apuan marble.
The Neptune figure, whose face resembles that of Cosimo I de’ Medici, was meant to be an allusion to the dominion of the Florentines over the sea. The figure stands on a high pedestal in the middle of an octagonal fountain. The pedestal is decorated with the mythical figures of Scylla and Charybdis. The statue of Neptune is a copy made in the nineteenth century, while the original is in the National Museum.
The vandalism during the years
The fountain has suffered a great deal of damage during the centuries. It was damaged in the 19th century during a carnival and bombardments. Recently, on August 4, 2005, the statue was the target of three vandals who climbed it, damaging one of the hands and the trident of Neptune. The act was recorded by security cameras. The statue was restored by 2007. Ten years later the fountain of Neptune is under restoration again.