The Neptune Fountain in piazza della Signoria is set to undergo restoration this year.
The project is being funded by the Salvatore Ferragamo fashion house, making use of the Italian Art Bonus scheme, whereby companies receive a tax break of 65 percent for donations to cultural activities.
At a press conference, company chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo commented, “This initiative conveys an important message of how much the collaboration between public and private, in their respective roles, can create projects aimed at benefitting the city’s constant evolution.” The family will donate 1.5 million euro over the course of the restoration.
In 1559, Cosimo I de’ Medici held a competition for the creation of the city’s first public fountain, with Bartolomeo Ammannati and his Neptune design eventually taking the prize, judged the best for its exaltation of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany’s glorious seafaring achievements. The sculpture was completed in 1565 and inaugurated for the wedding of Francesco I de’ Medici and the Grand Duchess Giovanna d’Austria on December 10 of that year. Close observers might notice that Ammannati used Cosimo I’s features to depict the strapping Neptune rising above the other figures.
The restoration project has been entrusted to RAM, Restauri Artistici e Monumentali, whose progress can be followed by the public from behind transparent walls and with guided visits and a webcam facing the site. The work will include a cleaning of the marble and bronze surfaces, reinforcements and a final effort aimed at future protection of the statue.