Britta: Rivaling Neptunes

October 2, 2010
In the early 16th Century, Florence desired a beautiful statue of the god Neptune in Piazza della Signora for Francesco I de Medici’s wedding with the grand duchess Johanna of Austria. Artists came and presented their ideas and one of Bologna’s very own artists Jean di Bologna, otherwise known as Giambologna, presented his miniature statue to the city of Florence but it wasn’t good enough.

Giambologna was not given the job and instead artist Baccio Bandinelli won the competition. Unfortunately, Bandinelli died before he started carving the piece and so Bartolomeo Ammannati sculpted the Neptune that still stands there today in 1565.

Giambologna was very unhappy about this outcome and when the people of Bologna heard about it they commissioned Giambologna to sculpt his version of Neptune and even give him it’s own little piazza—Piazza Nettuno.

Our Neptune (that being Bologna’s) is of course much better than Florence’s Neptune.
The poor statue in Florence has suffered quite a bit.

  • It was used as a wash bin in the 16th Century
  • In 1830 a satyr was stolen during a carnival
  • In 1580, 2005, and 2007 the statue was a target of vandalism

Piazza Nettuno is the meeting spot of young and old in Bologna. Giambologna’s work stands tall for everyone to see.


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