The "Porcellino" of Florence

The marble boar, Roman replica

The bronze boar of the fountain of the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo in Florence, was immediately nicknamed, with the typical Florentine irony, “il Porcellino” (the small pig). It all began with the visit that Cosimo I dei Medici made in 1560 to Pope Pius IV. Not only did Cosimo become passionate about antiquities, but he received as a gift from the Pope the Roman marble replica of a Greek bronze boar of the III century BC. excavated in Rome

together with two marble mastiff dogs. And he took them to Florence, to his new home in Palazzo Pitti (later they were taken to the Uffizi Gallery).

The envious nephew and the bronze replica

Years later his nephew Cosimo II ordered to the sculptor Pietro Tacca, a pupil of Giambologna, a bronze replica of the marble Porcellino to be brought back to Palazzo Pitti. Tacca executed the mold in 1612 and in 1633 he cast it in bronze with the lost wax technique.

The bronze has tired me, let's put it in the square!

In 1640 it was decided to transform the sculpture into a fountain for the population of Florence, and was installed on the side of the open gallery of the New Market (Loggia del Mercato Nuovo). First, however, Tacca modeled the sculpture of the base by simulating a portion of grass populated by grasses, reptiles, insects, which was cast with the lost wax technic with the animal.

The poor pig loses his face

The continuous withdrawal from the water for two centuries without respect for the monument led to a heavy wear of both the base and the snout of the Porcellino (Bardini Museum, Florence),

so much so that in the mid-nineteenth century it was decided to perform a new replica to replace the original fountain. A mold on the worn and deteriorated bronze was made, which was brought back to its original state in wax, including the base, from which a second bronze replica was obtained which replaced the first one (preserved at the Bardini Museum too), cast with the lost in wax technic in 1857 by the foundry of Clemente Papi, direct heir of the Renaissance foundry artisans.

Other than Trevi Fountain!

From the end of the 19th century the Porcellino had become one of the most admired symbols of the city of Florence, and the legend was born that those who had touched its nose would return to Florence, just as for Rome throw a coin in the Trevi fountain. The number of tourists began to increase dramatically, and the snout of the boar began to worsen in a worrying manner, as well as the sculpted base on which many climbed blissfully unmindful of the damage produced to the bronze.

Our heroes arrive !

So it was that in 1998 The “Porcellino” and its base were replaced another time: a new replica was ordered to the Foundry Ferdinando Marinelli of Florence, which in its plaster molds collection preserves the mold made on the original, which replaced the nineteenth-century replica.

But the violent “caresses” of the tourists abrased and consumed also the bronze snout of the new Porcellino that the artisans of the Foundry Ferdinando Marinelli had to first re-heat,

and, later, even replace with a the upper part of the animal’s muzzle recast.