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25 March 2019

FOUNTAIN OF NEPTUNE

After two years of meticulous, complex restoration work, the Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria is unveiled to the public in all its ancient glory, and Florence’s most famous fountain is more triumphant than before now that its water supply system has been rebuilt to feed water to the majestic jets that, for the first time in history, will spray the way Bartolomeo Ammannati, the fountain’s designer, dreamed they would.

The restoration of one of Florences most wellknown and wellloved monuments presented 500 years after the birth of Cosimo I (who commissioned the masterpiece) and Caterina de Medici cost 1.5 million, financed by Salvatore Ferragamo through a taxdeductible donation for the arts as part of the Italian government’s “Art Bonus” program.

Divided into three sections, the work began in February 2017 and initially hid from view the statue of Il Biancone – The White Giant – as Ammannati’s Neptune is affectionately called. Guided tours of  the  worksite  were  offered  along  a  protected  path,  allowing  about  2,000  people  from  90  different  countries  to  see  the  various  stages  of  work.  The  project  included  the  complete reconstruction  of  the  fountain’s  water  supply  system,  which  had  broken  repeatedly  and  functioned so  poorly  in  recent years  that  only now  can  it be  considered  completely  in  line with Ammannati’s original designs.

We are finally giving the city back one of its most wellloved symbols, announced the Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella. Completely restored, Ammannatis fountain is truly beautiful and aweinspiring. We are delighted that everyone may admire the fountain once again and that it has been brought  back  to  life  with  new,  choreographic  jets  of  water  harnessing  all  the  force  that  the  sculptor imagined and destined to enchant visitors. We would like to thank Ferragamo, which has shown great insight and sensitivity in partnering with us for this project in a genuine act of love for our city, and to Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino for having planned an unveiling celebration worthy of Florence.”

Ferruccio Ferragamo, Chairman of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group, added, “It has been a privilege for our company to support this important restoration project and see this work of art restored in its  full  splendour  to  Florence,  its  residents  and  the  many  travellers  from  around  the  world  who  visit the Tuscan capital every year. This is the result of a virtuous partnership between the public and  private  sectors  and  it  is  our  family’s  way  of  thanking  the  city  and  upholding  the  close  relationship that my mother and father forged with it. This project is a tangible expression of our gratitude to Florence.”

To  celebrate  the  unveiling  of  the  restored  fountain,  Teatro  del  Maggio  Musicale  Fiorentino  has  planned a performance held on 25  March at 8:30 pm, “E nel marmo e nel bronzo mise acqua e fuoco” (Marble and fire in water and bronze), inspired by the spirit of Renaissance and Baroque festivals  reinterpreted  in  a  contemporary  light,  with  the  use  of  modern  technologies  like projections, lights and sounds. Giovanni Vitali wrote the text and play, Alessandro Riccio adapted them for the theatre and Saverio  Santoliquido created the scenes set to music  by JeanBaptiste  Lully and Georg Friedrich Händel. The fountains history is told through a theatrical performance and  a  series  of  abstract  scenes  presenting  various  forms  of  acrobatics:  aerial  silks  and  an  aerial  hoop,  the  trapeze  and  contortionism  (curated  by  Fondazione  Cirko  Vertigo).  It  begins  with  an explanation  of  the  various  social,  political  and  historical  reasons  behind  Cosimo  I  de’  Medici’s  decision  to  build  the  fountain  in  Piazza  del  Duca,  describes  the  challenges  faced  in  obtaining  a block of white marble from the Apuan Alps and the bitter disputes among Florentine artists, most notably  between  Bartolomeo  Ammannati  and  Benvenuto  Cellini,  and  ends  with  the  crucial  role  that the Duchess Eleanor of Toledo, Cosimo’s consort played in the unfolding of events.

“We  are  thrilled  to  pay tribute  to  the  unveiling  of  Ammannati’s  fountain  restored  to  its  original  splendour  with  a  spectacular  performance  created  by  Maggio  that  evokes,  with  contemporary, theatrical  appeal,  the  spirit  of  Renaissance  and  Baroque  festivals,”  announced  Cristiano  Chiarot,  Superintendent  of  Maggio  Musicale  Fiorentino.  “One  of  our  theatre’s  missions  is  to  culturally enrich important events in the life of the city. This is an emblematic occasion in which a symbol of Florence is restored to the city through a virtuous public/private partnership and Maggio Musicale Fiorentino had to be a part of it.”

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