Hidden treasures

The Statue of Liberty in Florence

Historical Curiosities
Statua_libertà

The Statue of Liberty in Florence

Do you remember the Statue of Liberty, the most famous American icon? Do you know that in Florence there is a very similar statue? To see it, you just have to step into the Basilica of Santa Croce where you will find a statue that is strikingly similar to Lady Liberty in New York. The Florentine sculpture is clearly smaller, being less than half a meter high, whilst the American one reaches a height of 93 meters, but the resemblance is very evident! But do not get fooled into thinking that it was the Florentines who have copied! Rather, the facts point to the opposite!

For starters, the American statue of liberty was inaugurated in 1886 while the Florentine statue in 1883, that is three years earlier. As we know, Lady Liberty was donated by the French to the Americans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their independence. The author of the sculpture was French Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who, it seems, before setting out to construct the mammoth work visited Italy. He was in fact a fervent and convinced Republican and a supporter of Garibaldi, for whom he even served as a liaison officer. He was probably in Italy in 1870 when Pio Fedi, the author of the statue of Santa Croce, was working on the sketches. There are ample possibilities that he may have seen them and that he was inspired by them.

To get an idea, try comparing the two statues. Both, for example, have a crown of rays. The New York one has seven, like the seven seas, while the one in Florence called Liberty of Poetry has eight. Both have a broken chain: Fedi’s statue holds it in her right hand while Bartholdi’s statue keeps it under her foot. The right hand of Lady Liberty holds the famous torch of liberty while that of the Basilica of Santa Croce holds the laurel wreath, a symbol of poetry. The are many similarities, don’t you think? Many are also the amusing facts concealed amongst the squares, streets and buildings of Florence. Discovering them requires no hard work, just book one of our tours in Florence. Our guides will tell you many anecdotes and unknown stories about the wonderful cradle of the Renaissance.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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