The Apennine Colossus and his Magnificent Beard September 23, 2014 14:30 1 Comment


Commissioned by Francesco I de' Medici Grand Duke of Tuscany in the 16th century, Villa Demidoff and the nearby Villa di Pratolino took over a decade to complete. The result was a stunning labyrinth of  caves, lakes and massive sculptures. To Bearded Gentlemen The Appennine Colossus is the main point . 

Although most of the park and villa was completed in the 16th century, by the early 1800s it lay in near ruin, some of its delicate statues removed and relocated to another Italian garden. Slowly being consumed by nature, the gardens were finally rescued by Ferdinand III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who was so struck by their natural beauty of the place, that he decided to destroy the ruins of the villa and focus completely on the gardens themselves

 Standing over 35 feet tall, this edifice is the most breathtaking feature of the gardens of Villa Medici Pratolino,  part of Villa Demidoff, located 5 miles from world famous city of Florence, Italy. A metamorphosis of man and  the Apennine mountain ranges, its smooth stone skin emerging out of the rough hewn rock or perhaps changing back into a mountain. He even has stalactites for a monstrous beard.



This colossus sculpture is an homage to Atlas in Virgil’s Aeneid, and also the architect Dinocrates’ suggestion to sculpt Mount Athos into a man in honor of Alexander the Great.

Within the mighty grasp of the statue's hand, he strongly grasps the head of an enormous mythical looking animal, spilling cascade of water from it's mouth in cascades and into a pond.

Cross section model of statue/building

As illustrated  cross-sectioned photograph the statue also serves as a building. On the interior is a labyrinth of grottoes, their walls decorated with sea life shells, porous corals,  as well as shiny pearls and crystals, in addition to painted frescoes of gladiatorial figures mining precious ores. You get a glimpse of both a garden giant and the subterranean earth.  Located in the figures cranium is a small orchestra section.  Additionally lies a fireplace which when lit, would blow smoke from Appennine’s nose.