renaissance sculpture in italy

Art makes life worth living, let’s face it! Without art, the world would surely be a dull place.

There are hundreds of sights and works of art to see in the world today. Many of these places are well-known and visited daily by tourists from all walks of life. Millions of people flock to these sights, taking photographs and marveling at the splendor of craft and workmanship. They are in awe of the ability of the artist. Let’s face it, even the most sheltered individual knows about at least one wonder of the world.

However, the best morsels are those lesser known treasures, the ones which hold mysteries and which are found in almost forgotten places – yes, almost.

The Appennine Colossus

One of the most magnificent sights in the world can be found just north of Florence, Italy, in the Villa Demidoff, on the grounds of the Pratolino Park in Tuscany. Created during the Renaissance, the Colosso dell’Appennino, a 35 ft. tall sculpture by Giambologna, guards a pond and several grottos on the Villa grounds. The park in which this sculpture, along with several other bronze statues which no longer stand, was built for the mistress of an Italian duke.

giant renaissance sculpture

The Collosso dell’Appennino is the hidden centerpiece to the Villa grounds, standing defiant and guarding all surrounding morsels. There are other characteristics, however, that make this Renaissance sculpture even more interesting. For instance, deep within the belly of the giant, there are various rooms and passageways.

renaissance sculpture model

More Secrets

Yes, this sculpture is also a building! There are several chambers within the colossus, namely, one room that includes a fireplace. To add intrigue to interest, the fireplace is located within the head of the sculpture, and when lit, will blow smoke from the giant’s nose. Another special room can entertain visitors with a small orchestra! If this wasn’t enough to create awe, at one time, the colossus had an inner hydraulic system which pumped water from the pond and connected through the head and other channels throughout the body. It also pumped water to the fountain flowing from the mouth of the fish caught in the giant’s hand. You would have to see it to believe it!

renaissance sculpture

If the Collosso dell’Appennino had been built in a grand piazza in Florence, perhaps it would be highly recognized as a masterpiece. This magnificent sculpture may have been one of the most talked about Italian sculptures, unfortunately, it remains a mysterious treasure. Although visitors still arrive, there is not near as many tourists found here as with the other sights in established areas of Italy.

renaissance sculpture colossus

And more secrets yet!

Other sights surrounding and included in the park are the decorated grottos below the sculpture and the Chapel of Buontalenti. Behind the colossus is an amazing dragon sculpture. That’s not all! Visitors will not want to miss the Cupid’s grotto by Buontalenti, the fountain of Jupiter, the Maschera Fishpond and the aviary. The park is open every weekend between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. until the end of October. If visitors are interested in a tour during the week, a guide can be hired by appointment. All sights here are free!

If you enjoy hidden treasures and masterpieces, you will definitely want to check out the Collosso dell’Appennino in Tuscany, just north of Florence!

Photo credit: lapsy – Andreas Angelidakis

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Sherrie is a freelance writer and artist with over 10 years of experience. She spends most of her time giving life to the renegade thoughts. As the words erupt and form new life, she knows that she is yet again free from the nagging persistence of her muse. She is a mother of three and a lifetime fan of the thought-provoking and questionable aspects of the universe.