16th Century Italian Sculpture of Mountain God Still Awes Visitors Today
Discover the secrets inside this amazing sculpture:
Half man, half mountain, this sculpture stands over 35 feet tall. Created by Italian sculptor, Giambologna, in the late 16th century. The sculpture is of the mountain god, Appennino, and presides over the Villa di Pratolino (now more correctly called Villa Demidoff) in beautiful Tuscany.
This creation is amazing for its sheer size, but also for the incredible details and the secrets that lie within. Take a closer look at Appennino’s left hand. In it is a monster whose mouth issues forth a seasonal stream of water. The original source is more natural–an underground stream.
The rugged, mountainous statue hides a wonderful secret – his interior hides several rooms with different functions that made this colossus come to life. The monster that his left hand holds spewed water from an underground stream, and it is rumored that space in his head was made for a fireplace which, when lit, would blow smoke out of his nostrils.
This estate was bought by Francesco I de’Medici in 1568, allegedly as a gift for his wife. The intention was reputedly to turn it into a sort of fair-tale land. A villa was built on the hills, but it was destroyed years ago. Numerous fountains, gardens and caves still exist on the property.
This was the Medici family’s largest estate, and in the day was even more spectacular than what remains today. There were stables, and a gigantic renaissance garden on site.
Both Francesco and his wife, Bianca, died suddenly and the park and villa were subsequently abandoned by the family. Over time the park was sold and restructured to fit the romantic period by the Granduke Ferdinand III of Lorraine. During this time the original villa was razed.
Russian Prince Paolo II Demidoff purchased the park in 1872. At that time the buildings were restored. More than 100 years later the Florence Province Council purchased the property. It now serves as a park open to the public.
While it may be open to the public, this is the time to plan a trip for next year. Pratolino Park is currently closed. It closes at the end of October, reopening to the public in late April.
For more information about Pratolino Park including hours of operation, visit their website.
For additional photos and the original article, please visit Bored Panda.
Photo credit Stephen H.
Photo of monster courtesy of Daniele
Photo of the model courtesy of: Andreas Angelidakis