nettuno fontana neptune fountain bologna

The Return of Neptune (Nettuno)

nettuno neptune fountain bologna

For more than a year, if you’ve wandered around Piazza Maggiore, admiring the Basilica di San Petronio, walking up the unusual steps to the Salaborsa, or visited the Bologna Welcome tourism offices, you can’t help but notice a large, temporary, shrouded structure towering over everyone passing by. In fact, on some of the maps visitors may have picked up, it might have referred to that as Piazza del Nettuno. But where’s Il Nettuno (Neptune)?

neptune fountain nettuno bologna
Il Nettuno, in this case, is a massive fountain that has undergone extensive renovation and restoration over the past year or more. Considering all that the statue and fountain has been through since it was completed by Giambologna around 1567 — not to mention some of the less than ideal restorations done in the past — this current restoration was particularly important.

Fortunately, even throughout the restoration, it has been possible to see the fountain of Neptune, just in a slightly less traditional manner. Special guided tours have been available, giving visitors a chance to go behind the scenes for a unique view of this famous fountain and from a bird’s-eye view that would normally not be an option. A series of ramps takes you around the entire fountain, slowly working your way up until you’re eye to eye with the grand Roman god of the seas. To be honest, look at him that closely and it’s easy to think that an ancient relative of Jason Momoa could have modeled for Giambologna.

The work has finished and the scaffolding and protective sheeting is gone. Now, on Friday afternoon, there will be an official ceremony to bring the Fountain of Neptune back to watery life. For now, enjoy some of these behind-the-scenes photos taken during the restoration. Hopefully, on Friday, I’ll take some new photos of the fountain in all of its restored glory.

neptune fountain nettuno bologna
A view of the top two levels of the base of the fountain. There’s yet another large level beneath this.


neptune fountain nettuno bologna
A hint of the giant himself amid the many levels of scaffolding.


neptune fountain nettuno bologna
The legs are almost a level of their own.

neptune fountain nettuno bologna

neptune fountain nettuno bologna
What can I say? He has a nice bum.


neptune fountain nettuno bologna
Showing off his curls … and those broad shoulders.


neptune fountain nettuno bologna
The statue alone is more than four meters tall, so he usually towers over everyone. It’s a rare chance to see him up close like this. Also note the trident. Maserati, the luxury sports car company, was founded in Bologna, and based its famous logo on this statue’s trident.

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