The statue of Cosimo I, usually found in piazza della Signoria, has been dismantled for restoration. The bronze work by Giambologna was taken apart as a crane lifted the rider off his horse and placed him on a wooden support. The two will be reunited once the works are complete, which is expected to be in March.
“It was exciting to see the statue practically split in two for this innovative and precise restoration,” said Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence. “We can’t wait for Cosimo I to return and shine with its original beauty alongside all the other statues in the square.”
The statue was last disassembled during the Second World War, when it was moved to protect it from bombing, and the most recent external restoration took place in the 1990s. These new restorations will make it possible for work to be carried out internally as the horse has a cavity under the saddle to allow the internal walls to be treated with protective substances. Furthermore, non-invasive investigations into the statue using x-ray technology have already taken place and analysis of the metal within the legs of the horse have revealed that they remain solid and stable.
The project is being directed by Florence’s fine arts department, with the supervision of the SABAP superintendence of archaeology, fine arts and landscapes. The works are being performed by Cooperativa Archeologia, with restorers Nicola Salvioli and Stefano Landi, and the support of the Italian Research Council for diagnostic testing.
The restoration has been made possible by an agreement between the City of Florence and fashion company Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A., which, through the Art Bonus tax break scheme, has given a donation of over one million euro. The agreement follows restorations completed on the Ammannati fountain and has already allowed the completion of work on the bronze copy of David in piazzale Michelangelo.