Fountain of Neptune, Florence

The statue of Neptune, the God of the sea, is 4.2 meters tall and stands on top of a pedestal in the center of the octagonal fountain on the Piazza della Signoria in Florence, Italy.

Photographer: Daniela Bardi

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The Fountain of Neptune is a fountain in Florence, Italy, situated on the Piazza della Signoria, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

In 1559, Cosimo I de’ Medici launched a competition to design a fountain at a time when a new aqueduct was also being built, the first to bring running water to the city. Baccio Bandinelli was the sculptor chosen but he died before work began and Bartolomeo Ammannati was hired to take over and completed the work with assistants and collaborators.

Almost as soon as the fountain was finished, the Florentines were not impressed and called the statue “Il Biancone” (“the white giant”), criticising the opulent use of white marble.

The statue on display today is a copy made in the 1800s when the original was moved to the National Museum.