A giant resides in the northern region of Florence. He calls the Villa Demidoff park his home and he can be found spending his days gazing at the reflection in the water below. He has spent his years fighting off a terrible monster trapped beneath him. He once had an army of friends to help him in his fight. Now he is all alone. He is Colosso dell’Appennino.
The Colosso dell’Appennino, also known as the Appennine Colossus, is a stunning rock sculpture that has been in the area since 1580. The sculptor Giambologna was commissioned by Francesco de Medici to build an eye-catching structure in the garden of Medici’s mistress Bianca. It was the largest property owned by the Medici family at the time.
The garden, previously known as Villa di Pratolino, was filled with water features, exotic flowers, and breathtaking statues like the Colosso dell’ Appennino. Sadly, when Bianca and Francesco passed away the garden fell into disrepair. Later, Granduke Ferdinand III of Lorraine took over the property. He tore down the existing villa but the garden remained intact. Eventually, a Russian prince named Paolo II Demidoff bought the estate where it remained in his family for the next 100 years. In the 1980s the Florence Province Council purchased the site and turned it into a public park.
Over time the surrounding sculptures and water features were removed from the garden or destroyed. The Colosso dell’Apennino is one of the few original features remaining.
The sculpture depicts a 35 feet tall figure with long hair and beard crouching over a serpentine monster. His one hand is on top of the monster’s head, pinning it to the ground. There are steps on the exterior of the giant’s body for visitors to climb to take in the striking views of the park. Inside the structure of the giant, there are hidden grottos for people to explore.
The Colosso dell’Appennino is a magnificent feat of the Italian Renaissance. The weathered stones and surrounding forest give this sculpture a mystical atmosphere. Visitors can easily imagine one day this giant will rise from his slumber and finally defeat the monster beneath.
- Florence’s Giant [Mymodernmet.com]
- Colosso dell’Appennino [Dailyartmagazine.com]
- Pratolino Park [Discovertuscany.com]
- Feature Picture [Wikimedia]