Looking down a side street in the centre of Florence I spied a group looking skyward and curiosity got the better of me so I checked out what had attracted their attention – a Super creatures’ invasion in Florence!
It’s a great art installation of white figures with a human body and an animal head that are scaling the wall of the Gallery Hotel, or left swinging in mid-air across the little piazza or poking out from various corners of the buildings that face the square.
It’s quite startling and a delight to see onlookers pose, arms around the neck of the tiger man or cute cat woman or continue to look skyward as if expecting superman to fly over!
The Art Installation is titled ‘Personal/Unpersonal by artist and architect Simone D’Auria and is a tribute to the city of Florence. As the blurb reads: The inspiration has its roots in the past of those great men who have made the city of Florence and its history, and who represented themselves through emblems depicting the head of an animal, followed by a motto that extolled the value and virtue of action. Some examples – the turtle with a sail for Cosimo I, symbol of prudence combined with the power of action, a rhino for Alessandro de Medici to symbolize his strength and strong will, a weasel for Francis I, the symbol of cunning…..the 18 creatures that adorn the Gallery Hotel and the square is a message from the artist to ” continue to move forward whatever the challenge may be, to climb up, to be innovative and overcome one’s limits.
I’m sure we could all think of appropriate animal associations for our current day politicians, but probably best not to go down that track!
The installation is certainly a talking point and great publicity for the Gallery Hotel, not unknown for its artworks and innovative minimalist interior. It is part of the Lungarno Collection of hotels founded by Leonardo Ferragamo – the son of the famous shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo.
Besides it’s such an unexpected surprise in a hidden corner of Florence near the Ponte Vecchio, like walking in on a circus act – amusing and inspiring.
After that you may feel enthused to drop into the Ferragamo museum nearby in the beautiful 14th Century Palazzo Spini Ferroni which has been the headquarters for the Company since 1938. Take a stroll down the designer street of Via Tornabuoni, just oozing with weird and wonderful outfits that you know you would never wear, till the street widens out into a Piazza around the Column of Justice and the Museum lies before you.
The Museum displays shoes that look just like what you could buy upstairs in the shop today but date back to 1927 or 1938 the famous colourful cork wedge. Salvatore Ferragamo is captured in old film footage explaining what makes a shoe comfortable and his anatomical study of the foot. It’s an interesting glimpse into a man, truly ahead of his time in design and techniques, as well as a trip down memory lane being able to ogle shoes worn by the stars – like Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.
For more information about the Ferragamo museum, click here