FLORENCE — Up a seemingly magical, winding path that echoes the Italian countryside, a giant, bronze Neptune with his foot propped on a fish’s head loomed outside the entrance of The Vineyard at Florence on Thursday.
A replica of the 16th century piece that stands atop The Fountain of Neptune in Bologna, Italy, the statue is one of 45 pieces on display at the vineyard until May 15.
The pieces were produced by the world-renowned Marinelli Family Bronze Foundry in Florence, Italy.
The foundry makes replicas and original pieces that can be found throughout the world, such as the two large, bronze sculptures on the Arlington Memorial Bridge Monument in Washington, D.C.
The local vineyard has a connection to Marinelli, which led to the display.
“My mother’s cousin ... Natasha Garland, actually lives in Florence, Italy,” said Daniela DaSuta, daughter of vineyard owner Kambriah Garland. “She’s the representative of the Marinelli Foundation.”
The 45 sculptures are placed throughout the vineyard. Replicas of Classical, Renaissance and 20th century Italian bronze styles, the figures vary in height. A tall Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, stretches more than 13 feet high while other indoor statues are the size of small vases.
“The Marinellis have been commissioned by the Vatican, and that’s one of their main clients, so they’re a pretty big deal,” DaSuta said.
Other notable statues include Romulus and Remus suckling the she-wolf, the Madonna, St. Francis and Minerva.
The vineyard will have a silent auction from 2 to 4 p.m. March 30 to give the public a chance to purchase the sculptures on display. Proceeds will go to nonprofit organizations CASA of Williamson County, the Wil-Serve League and the Georgetown Palace Theatre. One of the bronze casters and family members, Signor Ferdinando Marinelli, will be on hand to answer questions about the work.
The bidding will start at wholesale prices, DaSuta said, and they can range anywhere between $20,000 and $120,000.
DaSuta said all ages are welcome and the sculptures are open to view at no cost to the public.