Sunday, January 10, 2016

Save “The Peasant”

In 1496 Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, was at war with the Republic of Florence. An Imperial army laid siege to Livorno to cut Florence access to the sea, while a fleet blockaded the port. Hundreds of peasants from the boroughs around town, tired of past destruction, volunteered to join the defense.
Statue of Guerrino of Montenero, Livorno
A legend says that a “villano” (peasant), Guerrino of Montenero, distinguished himself leading his men in the defense of the old fort. It seems that he even shot the Emperor himself, barely missing him and tearing one of his brocade sleeves. After three weeks some unexpected help came with a “libecciata” (gale force wind) that destroyed part of the imperial fleet and ravaged the camp of the assailants, leading the Emperor to end his siege.
Florence, grateful of the loyalty demonstrated in the field, gave to Livorno the right to fly a standard with the Latin word “Fides” (Faith), which still now shows up on our coat of arms. A first monument “al villano” (to the peasant) was erected at the bastion successfully defended by Guerrino and his men. Today we can only see the third version of the monument by Vitaliano De Angelis and Giulio Guiggi: it was erected in “Largo Fratelli Rosselli” in 1956 to replace an older work lost in the war.
As you can see the statue is not in good shape and a crowdfunding campaign was started to restore it:

Salviamo “Il Villano” (Save “The Peasant”)

External links: Maximilian I - Holy Roman Emperor - Republic of Florence (Wikipedia)

11 comments:

Revrunner said...

Hope the crowdfunding works.

Dina said...

I hope people rally and contribute to saving this heroic figure.
Thanks for the surprising history.

Lowell said...

A fascinating bit of history! Thanks for sharing. I hope the statue can be restored to its former beauty!

William Kendall said...

Even in need of restoration, it's a powerful sculpture.

cieldequimper said...

Now that's a necessary crowdfunding...

Sharon Anck said...

I loved learning this bit of history.

RedPat said...

There is so much I don't know about other places but which I learn everyday on someone's blog! Thanks!

Jack said...

I hope the campaign is successful. The statue symbolizes an important part of your city's history.

Karl Demetz said...

I agree with Jack and I like the perspective in this photo.

EG CameraGirl said...

It's a wonderful statue with so much historical meaning. I hope it is restored!

Stefan Jansson said...

Thanks for the history lesson.