In its latest step to give back to the city housing its headquarters, the Salvatore Ferragamo group on Friday pledged to donate 1.5 million euros, or $1.7 million at current exchange, to fund the restoration of the Fountain of Neptune. The amount will be channeled into the works over a three-year period, until 2018.
“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,” said chairman Ferruccio Ferragamo. “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.”
Located on the central Piazza della Signoria, in front of the town hall in Palazzo Vecchio, the fountain was commissioned in 1565 by Cosimo I de’ Medici and is the work of sculptor Bartolomeo Ammannati. The city’s first public fountain, it is a symbol of Florence and points to the city’s power over the seas during the Renaissance. Made with Carrara marble, the figure of Neptune stands on a high pedestal decorated with the mythical figures of Scylla and Charybdis, in the middle of an octagonal fountain, surrounded by laughing satyrs and sea horses.
Praising Ferragamo as “a prestigious label that cares about the beauty and culture of Florence,” Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella said, “The city has been looking for public and private sponsors and partners for years to help safeguard the city’s great artistic heritage.”
Ferragamo has 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. It has also established the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo at Palazzo Spini Feroni, headquarters of the brand.