Florence Free Tour

Piazza Signoria, in front of the Fountain of Neptune, allegory of the Florentine power on the seas (it was to remember the grip of Pisa and the foundation of the order of the Knights of Santo Stefano). The Grand Duke Cosimo I decided as well as embellishing the square, to build a Fountain, given that there was nothing in the area (we must remember as well as for the water approval, the water also served for personal cleaning what not so much in vogue at the time, just think of the various diseases due to dirt in general). For this occasion, an aqueduct was built, which started from the source to Geneva at the S.Giorgio Porta in Oltrarno, went down to the valley, then crossing the river on the Rubaconte bridge (Ponte alle Grazie), arrived in Piazza Peruzzi and flowed to Piazza della Signoria In Borgo dei Greci.

Being the only source for water, everyone could take advantage of it, (drinking animals, washing clothes, cleaning dishes and even the calamai) so much so that a railing was put to protect the tank given the uncivilized and vandal acts. In fact, we can see a 1720 marble plaque on the palace corner that prohibits any action accomplished in the fountain. The Grand Duke commissioned Baccio Bandinelli to create the monument that had to give prestige to the doctors’ house, but the unfortunate Bartolomeo Brandini (the real name) unfortunately already elderly died. The artists of the time knowing about the Commission for the construction of the fountain, presented their projects, but Cosimo I chose Bartolomeo Ammannati, after heated criticism on the choice (Ssshh ….. Rumors of the corridor said that the Ammannati was in the graces of the Cosimo I’s wife, the Duchess Eleonora of Toledo … I recommend I have not told you anything ..). Cellini immediately commented with his “polite” way: “unfortunate marble, if with the Bandinelli he had happened badly, with the Ammannati you happened one hundred times worse”, the Florentine people who called the god Neptune in “Biancone” was no less And praising the artist “admired, admired, what a nice marble you wereted you”. In short, after so many criticisms the work was over, namely Neptune with the central group (the tritons (sons of Neptune and Amphitrite) who support it, on a shell that is driven by four horses), subsequently the large octagonal tank was created ( Number used for buildings, by the meaning of cosmic balance, sign of resurrection, eternal life ….) made with a plastic sedimentary stone (sediments whose elements derive from the accumulation of lithic fragments of other rocks transported by atmospheric agents ) called “Medici Brecciaa”- “Fior di Pesco”- “Marmchio” “marble of Seravezza” (even if the quarries are in Stazzema), surrounded by the bronze works of the Giambologna and school, the top of the Florentine mannerism (Teti, Doride , Ocean, black and the various satyrs). But let’s get to the point … the satyr located at the most close to the Palazzo Vecchio, is no longer the original of the Flemish sculptor Jean Boulogne (Giambologna) but a copy performed by the sculptor Francesco Pozzi in 1831.

The facts: Florence Carnival 1830 , the square is invaded by groups of young people in mask that sound, sing, dance, in short, a super confusion as happens in all parties of the genre. The cheerful brigade approaches the Neptune fountain, other components together with the people begins a sort of medieval carousel, couples are formed, one on the shoulders of the other, the carousel begins. The group tries to make more confusion possible, they must attract attention to them, in the meantime another group with burning tools, detach the satyr from the base of the tank. Once removed, it is dressed perhaps with a clown dress or other .. and carrying it on the shoulders, they leave the square undisturbed by heading, playing and singing towards the Lungarni. The guards who had a guard body a stone’s throw from the fountain, do not notice anything, until a passing through the lack of satyr, denounces the disappearance of the bronze work under the command of the police (certainly planned and commissioned theft). Unfortunately other vandal damage have marked the Neptune fountain from the legs of the horses to the breakdown of the hand in 2005.

If you like this original story you could come to visit with us the the city of Florence, we are running a Florence free tour from Santa Maria Novella square, our meeting point is in front of Minerva Hotel. Our guide will be happy to give an introduction of Florence with many original stories.