Posted by: Debra Kolkka | January 5, 2015

Climbing the walls in Florence

When I was in Florence recently I wandered absent mindedly into the Vicolo dell’Oro, not far from the Ponte Vecchio.

I looked up to see these creatures scaling the walls.

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

There was a sign describing the art installation on the window of the Farmacia Ponte Vecchio…

It was commissioned by the Gallery Art Hotel and created by artist and architect Simone D’Auria as a tribute to the city of Florence in beautifying this tiny and precious square.

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

The work of art represents an imaginary world populated by white creatures with a human body and the head of an animal.

18 creatures with almost identical bodies, but with different animal heads, animate the Vicolo dell’Oro, climbing the facade of the Gallery Art Hotel, hovering in the air like trapeze artists between the Lungarno Collection hotel, stopping as curious spectators in front of the Leica store.

Vitolo dell'Oro Florence

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence


Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

The rhino represents Alessandro de Medici, to symbolise his strength and strong will.

Vicolo dell'Oro Florence

The goal is to send a positive message, an invitation to continue to move forward whatever the challenge may be, to climb up, to be innovative and overcome one’s limits.

I’m not sure whether it is a permanent installation or a temporary exhibition. I will drop by when I return to Florence to see.


  1. I love this! I especially love the ones hanging from the wire. Beautiful.

    • I thought it was delightful. The shadows made it diffucult to get good photos, but I thought it was worth sharing.

  2. Wow, so creative, fun and inspiring. Florence is a wonderful place for embracing the old and the new. Thanks for sharing Debra, hope it’s still there in Spring, I would really like to see this. Happy New Year ☺️

    • It is great to see new art in this wonderful old city. I hope it stays for a while too.

  3. I hope it’s a permanent display, I’d really like to see that.

    • According to a comment below it is still there, so maybe it will be around for a while.

  4. Hi Deb, hope all is good with you and yours, saw this just last week on our way back from dinner and my first thought was that the Vino Rosso must have been much stronger than I first thought…. but thanks for doing a bit of investigating, it clarifies the situation no end. Happy and healthy 2015 from Michelle & I

    • I’m pleased to hear that it is still around. I will be back in a few weeks, so I will stop by for another look.

  5. This is amazing and so creative… I loved too dear Debra, Thanks and Love, nia

    • It is fun, I’m glad I came across it.

  6. It is wonderful to see contemporary art in such a beautiful, historical location. Looks like a funinstallation and encourages people to look up, we spend so much time looking down at screens now.

    • I have to constantly have to remind myself to look up in these gorgeous cities. There is so much to see in Florence.

  7. I love this, you’ve captured them well.

    • It is a very interesting installation.

  8. Great initiative, full of imagination!

    • It is a lot of fun, perhaps it will still be there when you return.

  9. Definitely different, creative, and Italian.

    • A new surprise in an old piazza.

  10. Reblogged this on Shoreline Study Abroad.

  11. These are amazing! So unusual but I really think they are cool. I love the angles of your shots too Debra! You are a great photographer.

    • The piazza is tiny and the sun was in the wrong place, but the photos aren’t too bad. It is a fun installation.

  12. Fantastic innovative sculptures. Very thought provoking. According to, the installation was from June 2014 until January 2015. Thanks for sharing these great photos as always.

    • It looks as though I will not see it again, I won’t be back until February.

  13. Wonderful! I love these brilliant surrises and sense of wonder and smiles they bring to the world and miss them in Perth. Allthough, lately some have been popping up in the city centre.
    In Antwerpentherused to be plaster ‘ghosts’ on the roof tops of old buildings in the centre, quite spectacular at night.
    it is great people make these artworks, even f they are not allowed to stay.

    • It is fun to come upon something unexpected when you wander in a city. Florence is full of fascinating things, but new ones are always welcome.

  14. Such an interesting find. What an amazing blue sky. Super photos

    • It was a gorgeous day in Florence, as you can see by those skies.

  15. Only in Florence! What a clever and highly creative idea.

    • I like the way Italy mixes the new with the old.

  16. How absolutely wonderful this is.Thanks for sharing. I do hope it’s a permanent fixture. it will raise many smiles I’m sure. πŸ™‚

    • I don’t think it is permanent, but I am sure it has brightened the day for many people already.

  17. Oh my, that’s so weird! I love it πŸ˜€

    • I like it too, people are very inventive.

  18. What a delightful art installation to stumble upon. We were in Florence in November and it was just too short a stay πŸ™

    • You need to spend more time in Florence. I go regularly and find something new every time.

  19. Hi Deb…I’m back!!! And it feels good. Now this reminds me of the Irish dance group, “Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre”…who performed the Rite of Spring here in Brisbane in 2013. Innovative, fun and loads of energy….let’s hope the installation stays. It says all the right things. I think its fab!

    Looking forward to following your adventures again.



    • I think the installation is only temporary and about to go, which is a pity, I was hoping to see it again next month when I return to Italy.

  20. What an interesting display! Their bodies are very realistic. Those climbing up the side of the building are very effective.

    • They look great don’t they. I am glad I stumbled across them.

  21. They remind me of the work of an english artist called Sophie Ryder, love their energetic poses and modern lithe bodies πŸ™‚ What fun!

    • It is fun…great to see new things in Florence.

  22. A very unique find! So so cool! And Iove what it represents. Cool to have that modern creativity to couple the ancient building of the city.

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