The Isolotto is one of the most famous locations in Florence’s Boboli Gardens. It was built in the seventeenth century by architect Alfonso Parigi.
In Dan Brown’s Inferno, Robert Langdon recognizes The Isolotto, thanks to the
famous sculpture of Perseus on a half-submerged horse bounding through the water.
This small island is located in the center of a square bordered by holm oak hedges towering over ten meters, which feature at regular intervals stone and marble statues depicting mythological, historical, bucolic, and picaresque subjects.
At the center of the square is a large circular basin, with the Isolotto in the center connected to the mainland by two small bridges.
The bridges are bordered by two large gateways, supported by two columns, on each of which is a statue of a Capricorn, symbol of the power of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
On the sides of the columns are four fanciful fountains in the shape of male harpies, which pour water into shell-shaped tanks decorated with grotesque marine animals.
Along the sides of the Isolotto Basin are the Putti Fountains, decorated with intertwined dolphins, marine animals, and fantastic masks.
The Isolotto is surrounded by a stone railing, which features jars that in the summer contain citrus fruits and other decorative plants. Lush citrus trees also decorate the small bridges.
In the center of the island is the Fountain of the Ocean by Giambologna, consisting of a circular base that supports a large granite tank, above which stands the sculpture of Neptune surrounded by water deities.
These deities represent the Nile, the Ganges, and the Euphrates rivers, which symbolically pour their waters into the basin, representing the ocean.
The Fountain of the Ocean is more ancient than this part of Boboli Gardens and once stood at the center of the Boboli Amphitheater.
It was sculpted in 1576 for Francesco I de’ Medici and has been used as a prototype for all sculptures of this subject.
The original Fountain of the Ocean is now in the Bargello Museum and here is replaced by a copy.
Two other seventeenth-century statues by the Giambologna school emerge from the water: Perseus on horseback and Andromeda with her ankles shackled in the rock.
Do you fancy a walk through the Isolotto?
Pictures by FlorenceInferno execpt for the Perseus, which is from Wikipedia