Boboli Gardens Florence, Italy
Grottoes have always fascinated me. The word grotto comes from the Italian grotta- or cave. So simply, a grotto is a cave.
This is the entrance to the Boboli Gardens grotto in Florence, Italy. Leave it to an artist to not leave well enough alone and go and tweak mother nature! Artificial garden grottoes, such as the Boboli gardens were conceived in the 16th century. Artists took the concepts of stalactites, shells and mythological figures and glorified them in these false grottos.
This is why I have always wanted a grotto....a garden grotto with stalactite sheep and mythological figures emerging from the calcium carbonate formations against faded fresco walls....who wouldn't want a grotto after seeing this?
An artist's interpretation of a grotto...with classical urns and fountains, frescoes and large clam shells formed by man, not nature....
Even the ceilings in the Boboli gardens are examples of controlled nature...dripping sections of della robbia frame the painted panels.
Boboli gardens ceiling
Such a perfect combination of man's ability and nature's best!
The romancing of nature-combining sculpture with found objects, always linking to the ocean and water.
Carlo Marchiori has a modern grotta on the grounds of his home Ca' Toga in California. Carlo created his home and all architecture to give the illusion of Italian ruins. This shot shows the oculus dome inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. The grotta is made from woven rebar, metal mesh, abalone shells and "hundreds of buckets of concrete mix."(quote from Festa Veneziana a Ca'Toga)
I took these photos in Rome ten years ago....sculptures on Via XX Settembre...mythological subjects with grotto style renderings.
It would be a few years later before I would go to Florence and became totally smitten with grottoes.
Man continues to imitate nature...this is a stalactite ceiling done in plaster in the early turn of the 20th century in the United States.
...and the fascination continues with this recent installation in the U.N.'s Palace of Nations ceiling by Spanish painter Miquel Barcelo.
Maybe if I snag an incredible grotto chair like this one from Michaelsamantiques I will be satisfied.....for a while!