An Elderly Man in Italy with Secrets to Hide: Colosso Dell‘Appennino, Who is this man?



Not to confuse him with the Marvel super hero Colossus. He was created by an X-men super fan. While this one is the man in the mountains, who is high with the knowledge of existence. The Appennine Colossus perhaps is the most eye-catching medieval European statue in the Appennine Colossus in Tuscany in Italy.

This massive statue was created around 450 years ago and is meant as a personification of the Appennine Mountains. He is also known as the Titan (Atlas) who holds the world on his shoulder as a punishment.

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Photo Credit: By Costantinus at Italian Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Villa Demidoff – Pratolino

The Appennine Colossus is around 11 meters or 36 feet high and is located in the east of the Villa Demidoff in Italy. One can feel the sense of mystery and beauty of the renaissance gardens and the Colossus seemingly in pain. Built between 1579 and 1580 by the Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne, known as Giambologna. The sculpture is now part of the Villa Demidoff just outside of Florence, Italy – the villa forged out of the remains of the previous Villa di Pratolino (1569-1599) belonging to the Medici family.

The current villa was built much more recently, in 1872, and the Apennine Colossus was incorporated into the newer structure. The colossus is a great place to visit in Italy if you want to experience an intoxicating blend of art, architecture and philosophy. Travelers across the globe have variously interpreted this statue over the years. Admirers of design and ideology would love to pay this man a visit.

What is he doing?

The rough mountainous statue hides an amazing secret interior that hides many rooms with different functions that made this Colossus come to life. The monster that his left hand holds spewed water from a sub terrene stream and it is rumored that space in his head was made for a fireplace which, when lit, would blow smoke out of his nostrils.

Descriptions of the statue claim that he was originally able to sweat and weep with water pouring through a network of pipes running through his body. When temperatures fell enough in the winter, icicles would then cover his body.

At the feet of the Apennines, Aeneas and his men defeated the Latins in one of the first victories of the early Romans. Amid flying arrows and screaming men, the Latins laid down their weapons and were taken by Aeneas’ army while Father Apennine watched. Since then, the Apennine Mountain Range has seemingly had a life of its own.

Giambologna, a 16th century Renaissance sculptor, worked a magic of his own when he gave Father Apennine a face in the gardens of Villa di Pratolino. When one gazes up at the Colossus, the superhuman figure is not only imposing, but threatening, as if daring visitors to endanger his territory.

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Why should you see him?

What is most stunning about the Apennine Colossus, however, is not merely the impressiveness of his creation. Equally unusual and unique about the sculpture is that the interior of the colossus is intricately carved and carefully planned. Just as the colossus is intended to personify the Apennine Mountains, one could claim that the mountain range personifies the man.

Within the statue there are “countless caves, water cascades and ravaged by time mechanical, hydraulic and acoustic devices intended to amuse and impress any visitor of the park.” Inside the Colossus of the Apennines there still lies a secret compartment which lies in the upper part of the body and in the head. According to a study by GECO, the statue contains a number of rooms with frescoes and fountains moved by hydraulic mechanisms.

Is that all?

Meeting an old man does sound boring. Truth be told, the Park of Pratolino, where the giant resides, is one of the most beautiful parks in the area surrounding Florence. While you are here in Florence, there are many things you can do, like- taking yourself to these Places.

Accademia: Michelangelo’s David and powerful (unfinished) Prisoners. (Reserve ahead.)

Uffizi Gallery: Greatest collection of Italian paintings anywhere. (Reserve well in advance.)Bargello: Underappreciated sculpture museum (Michelangelo, Donatello, Medici treasures).

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Duomo Museum: Freshly renovated cathedral museum with the finest in Florentine sculpture.

Pitti Palace: Several museums in lavish palace plus sprawling Boboli and Bardini Gardens.

Duomo: Gothic cathedral with colorful facade and the first dome built since ancient Roman times.

Museum of San Marco: Best collection anywhere of artwork by the early Renaissance masters Fra Angelico.

Medici Chapels: Tombs of Florence’s great ruling family designed and carved by Michelangelo.

Palazzo Vecchio: Fortified palace, once the home of the Medici family, wallpapered with history.

Galileo Science Museum: Fascinating old clocks, telescopes, maps, and three of Galileo’s fingers.

Santa Croce Church: Precious art, tombs of famous Florentines, and Brunelleschi’s Pazzi Chapel in 14th-century church.

Church of Santa Maria Novella: Thirteenth-century Dominican church with Masaccio’s famous 3-D painting.

Brancacci Chapel: Works of Masaccio, early Renaissance master who reinvented perspective.

San Miniato Church: Sumptuous Renaissance chapel and sacristy showing scenes of St. Benedict.

Climbing the Duomo’s Dome: Grand view into the cathedral, close-up of dome architecture, and, after 463 steps, a glorious city vista. (Reservations required.)

Campanile: Bell tower with views similar to Duomo’s, 50 fewer steps, and shorter lines.

Baptistery: Bronze doors fit to be the gates of paradise.

Piazza Santissima Annunziata: Lovely square epitomizing Renaissance harmony, with Brunelleschi’s Hospital of the Innocents, considered the first Renaissance building.

Medici-Riccardi Palace: Lorenzo the Magnificent’s home, with fine art, frescoed ceilings, and Gozzoli’s lovely Chapel of the Magi.

Ponte Vecchio: Famous Bridge lined with gold and silver shops.

Piazzale Michelangelo: Hilltop square with stunning view of Duomo and Florence, with San Miniato Church just uphill.

How to reach?

You can easily reach the UNESCO world heritage site of Pratolino from Florence (about 11km from the center) with your own car or by bus. Apennine is open to the public and is located around 10 km or 6 miles north of Florence at the foot of the Apennine Mountains. If one is not driving, according to Discover Tuscany, it’s possible to take a bus. Take ATAF bus #25A from Piazza San Marco in Florence to Pratolino, and it’s a shortish walk from there.

You can see this unusual man during April – October. Do include Appenine Colossus to your bucket list vacation destination in Italy. The park is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and holidays from 10am – 8pm. 10am -6pm in October. Florence is a top destination for this unusual weekend getaway.


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