Grotta del Buontalenti

Generale_Buontalenti
Entrance of the Grotta del Buontalenti.

Age

1583-1588

Designer

Bernardo Buontalenti

The architectural complex is located within the Giardino di Boboli; it was commissioned to Bernardo Buontalenti by Francesco I de’ Medici who wanted to created something recalling a natural cave. The complex consists of a large arcade divided by columns in three connected areas; on the arc there are calcareous stalactites. On the sides of the complex there are two niches containing the statues of Cerere and Apollo by Baccio Bandinelli; in the first cave, whose walls are covered with limestone concretions, are present in the corners the replicas of Michelangelo Prisons and in the center a fountain; in the second cave, covered with shells and decorated with frescoes, are the statues of Theseus and Elena; in the center of the third cave is a fountain surrounded by four satyrs leaning on a green Marble cup watching the Venus statue by Giambologna. The limestone concretions, over the vault, simulate a pergola. In the center is visible the coat of arms of the Medici family.

The decorative concretions are made of limestone, the statues of Cerere, Apollo, Theseus, Elena and Venere are made of white Marble while the cup of green Marble; the coat of arms of the Medici family is obtained by mosaics; the frescoes are on plaster.

The Apollo statue by Baccio Bandinelli
The limestone concretions and the mosaics