The works to dismantle the scaffolding, which has imprisoned the Neptune and its fountain for nearly one year, are almost completed. The restauration in facts has been longer than foreseen because of structural problems which needed more studies and analysis.
By Saturday the fountain will be returned to the Bolognese people in its original splendour. For the first time they will see the amazing water sprouts as they looked when this masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance was inaugurated in 1566.
The project was committed by pope Pio IV to Tommaso Laureti a famous Sicilian architect who designed the structure of the fountain, while the statues were created by the Flemish artist Jean De Boulogne, later called by the locals Gianbologna. The sculptor, who worked in Florence for the Medici, before coming to Bologna participated to the contest for the design of the fountain of Piazza della Signoria, but his project didn't meet the Lords' tastes who seleted the one of Ammanati. According to a local tradition, a student who wants to have good luck before an important exam, should walk counterclockwisely around the fountain for two times. The legend says that Giambologna used to turn around the fountain in the same way proud of his work and leaving behind the Florentine defeat.
The Neptune Fountain is made of precious marbles and bronzes and it symbolizes the papal power over the 4 continents which were known in the XVI century and are represented by the 4 rivers Gange, Nile, Rio de la Plata, and Danube. It is one of the most famous symbols of the city with 90 spurts of water which come from the Valverde tank thanks to a system of underground canals still in use.