At a press conference held at Palazzo Vecchio, the Mayor of Florence announced that the Fountain of Neptune in Piazza della Signoria will be restored, bringing it back to its original splendor—thanks to Salvatore Ferragamo’s generous donation, which will total over €1.5 million ($1.68-million) over the course of a three year period beginning 2016.
Since it was first founded, the Florentine fashion label, one of the most renowned names in the Made-in-Italy luxury industry, has always stood apart for its ongoing interaction with the world of art and culture, which have been integral parts of its history and image.
The brand has developed this relationship over time through generous sponsorships to promote culture and safeguard the artistic heritage of Italy and Florence in particular. Indeed, it was to this end that Museo Salvatore Ferragamo was established, a museum that often shows works of art from Florentine museums, and that Fondazione Ferragamo organizes cultural and educational events. Furthermore, Ferragamo has funded Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and financed major restoration projects, including the allegorical statues on Ponte Santa Trinita in 1996, the Column of Justice in Piazza Santa Trinita in 1998 and the eight rooms in the Uffizi Gallery in 2015.
Commissioned by Cosimo I de’ Medici and sculpted by Bartolomeo Ammannati, the Fountain of Neptune— which alludes to Florence’s dominion of the seas during the Renaissance – was the city’s first public fountain and remains one of its most widely-recognized symbols.
The construction site was handed over to Bartolomeo Ammannati after discussions, which, with the Grand Duke’s consent, had led to a highly competitive contest against other artists, including Benvenuto Cellini, Giambologna and Vincenzo Danti. An extraordinarily large marble block was excavated in Carrarato build the massive statue of Neptune, and an archway in the de’ Lanzi loggia was temporarily closed in order to make space for the sculpting workshop. The work proceeded slowly and it was not until June1574 that the fountain’s architectural and decorative structure took shape as Ammannati had designed it. There was no lack of criticism surrounding the fountain – some of which was fierce. Legend has it that Neptune was commonly and derogatorily referred to as “Biancone” and the artist was much derided with the sharpness typical of Florentines in the quick, caustic remark “Ammannato, Ammannato, what beautiful marble you have wasted.”
“I like to think of our support to Florence’s cultural activities and the restoration of architectural assets as a virtuous partnership between the public and the private sectors and a way for our family to thank the city and recognize the close bond forged by my father and still in place today,” noted Ferruccio Ferragamo, chairman of the Salvatore Ferragamo Group. “Everything we have done over the years has been a way for us to express our gratitude to Florence for what it has given us.”
The Mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, added, “We are thrilled to have at our side such a prestigious label that cares about the beauty and culture of Florence. The city has been looking for public and private sponsors and partners for years to help safeguard the city’s great artistic heritage. The Art Bonus, a tool created by the government to encourage corporate funding of the arts is a land-breaking step in this direction. I sincerely hope that other successful companies like Salvatore Ferragamo will follow its example.”
In the Philippines, Salvatore Ferragamo has boutiques in Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 4, Newport Mall, and within Rustan’s Makati and Rustan’s Shangri-La.