One of the symbols of Bologna. The statue is the work of the Flemish artist Jean de Boulogne (1529-1608), who became Giambologna to everyone. The original model for the statue is on display in the nearby Museo Civico Medievale.
The work was created at the behest of the Pope’s legate Bartolomeo Cesi, who called the Palermo-born Tommaso Laureti to Bologna in 1563 to entrust him with the task of designing the fountain. Laureti proved decisive: in addition to calling Giambologna to execute the statue of Neptune, he took care of the entire complex water system to make the water flow, elaborated the mythological iconography and conceived the decorative parts, as evidenced by his drawings now preserved in several European museums.
Curiosity: the Neptune of Bologna has no less than four replicas in the world: in Palos Verdes in California; in Laeken, a suburb of Brussels; in Batumi, a Georgian city on the Black Sea; and finally outside the Kure Naval Museum (the Yamato Museum) near Hiroshima in Japan. The trident held by Giambologna’s Neptune also became the symbol of Maserati Auto, which was born in Bologna and only later moved to Modena.