The Park of Pratolino, located just north of Florence, Italy, boasts a rich historical background. In 1568, Francesco I de Medici purchased the estate and renamed it the Medicean Paggeria of Pratolino. It is said that the Grand Duke of Tuscany bought the estate as a gift for his mistress Bianca Cappello. He commissioned a renowned architect to turn the estate into a fairy-tale property, including a lavish villa surrounded by a picturesque park with beautiful gardens, water fountains, and impressive bronze statues, such as the Colossus of the Apennines, a colossal brick and stone structure depicting a brooding guardian.
The Colossus of the Apennines, created by Italian sculptor Giambologna, is the only surviving statue in the Park of Pratolino. After the deaths of Francesco and Bianca, the property fell into disrepair and the magnificent villa was destroyed. The surrounding park also declined. In 1872, Russian prince Paolo II Demidoff purchased the property, restored the ruined villa and abandoned park, and changed the estate’s name to Villa Demidoff. A century later, the Florence Province Council acquired the property and transformed it into a public park, now known as the Park of Pratolino
The Colossus of the Apennines, a monumental statue created by Giambologna in the 16th century, is the only surviving structure from the original Park of Pratolino. Despite centuries of wear and tear, the statue remains standing on its stone seat, a testament to its endurance. As a faithful guardian of the property for over 400 years, the Colossus is a must-see attraction at the Park of Pratolino, which is open to the public on weekends and holidays. To visit the park during weekdays, advanced booking is required.