A statue placed a few meters from our Bed and Breakfast: the statue of Ferdinand III of Lorraine.
This statue, often unjustly ignored by tourists passing through our city, is really of great interest because it represents a character linked to a fundamental affair for the history of Arezzo: the reclamation of the Valdichiana. But let’s go with order …
Who was Ferdinand III of Lorraine
Ferdinand III was the second son of the Grand Duke of Tuscany, king of Hungary and Bohemia, Peter Leopold II of Habsburg-Lorraine. When in 1790 the latter became Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, Ferdinand took his place as Grand Duke of Tuscany.
Covered the title of Grand Duke up to 1799 when, despite the strong Italian resistance (especially the anti-French Viva Maria movement is remembered), Napoleon conquered Italy thus forcing Ferdinand III to fall back to Vienna.
When Napoleon was defeated in 1814, Ferdinando III immediately returned to Tuscany with his old title of Grand Duke. At this stage it shows good sense by implementing a completely mild restoration without purges of personnel operating in the French period, leaving in force some of the laws in civil and economic matters and seriously carrying ahead many public works such as, in fact, the reclamation of the Valdichiana .
The people of Arezzo have never shown affectionate towards the Tuscan sovereigns, but thanks to its commitment to give back to the population the precious fertile lands of the Valdichiana, Ferdinando II is certainly an exception.
The statue that is now on top of Piaggia di Murello, was actually placed in 1822 in a much more central place: Piazza Grande.
It remained there for 110 years, when after a stylistic restoration and to make room for the competition for the Giostra del Saracino, it was moved to its current location.
The statue was made of Carrara marble on Rapolano travertine base by the Florentine artist Stefano Ricci (better known for the cenotaph of Dante Alighieri in Santa Croce).
The Grand Duke is represented with an ancient toga and crowned with oak leaves, symbol of virtue, strength, perseverance and loyalty. In one hand holds the scepter, emblem of power, while at his feet lies a tame lion.