Quality Time with
Bartolomeo Ammannati's Neptune
The thing about big naked statues is that they are big and naked.

And this one is made of marble. So it freezes and thaws. And it sucks up automobile exhaust and acid rain.

This one is also a civic icon (called Il Biancone = The Big White One, by the Florentines). So people climb up on it and do stupid things - like break off pieces.

So maintenance is sometimes necessary.

End of story.

UPDATE (so not quite "end of story"!)

Two photos of August 2005 damage:

More Mysteries of Florence? See:

PHOTOGRAPHS: Florence, Piazza della Signoria
© Lyle Goldberg


  1. While wandering through Piazza della Signoria shortly after the Biancone's right hand was snapped off in August 2005, I remember overhearing a middle-aged British man authoritatively announcing to his wife and son that "some very drunk American students" had climbed upon and broken the statue. I resisted the temptation to respond, but was mildly annoyed. While drunken American students are definitely part of the Florentine summer mix, they by no means hold a monopoly on impulsive acts of stupidity.

    In fact, the perpetrators were a pair of bartenders from nearby Empoli who had gotten off work and wanted to have a little fun at the expense of their historically dominant neighbors. Interestingly, the severed hand revealed a corroded metal rod that had been previously inserted in Neptune's wrist. Obviously this wasn't the first time someone had tried to swing on Neptune's staff like a tree branch. A close look at the top photo reveals several repaired fractures throughout his right wrist area.

  2. Right! See the above POSTSCRIPT! Ed G.

  3. Thanks for the good laugh about the big naked statues! Nice!! :>) I have never been to Italy...when I was in Spain my roommate went by herself, and when she came back she glowed like a sputnik heatshield....carrying on about the flirty, naked Italian men ~ I don't think it was the statues she was talking about!!

  4. "Flirty Italian Men"? That is scarcely headline news... But "Flirty NAKED Italian Men"??? Maybe we want to know more, maybe we don't...