Merola said of Neptune’s comeback: “We welcome the figure that the soul of every Bolognese feels close to and that has always transmitted to us the values of belonging, of community, of citizenship… It’s not always a monument. Even amongst the extraordinary, artistic and historical value that makes up Italy, Neptune has managed for us to embody the friendly and benevolent figure through the centuries, so welcome back, and welcome back to our daily encounters with the ‘Giant.’
Behind the emotional event there was a lot of work, studies, research, unexpected events, passion and competence. The City of Bologna is proud – and I am as mayor – to have achieved this impressive and complex restoration, to have returned to the whole city and Italy such a precious asset.
I thank ‘Il Resto del Carlino’ for the tenacity and attention with which, through an intense journalistic campaign, solicited and accompanied our efforts. It’s been a collective work that has had as its protagonist, indeed, the entire city and some the most important realities of the country. Just look at who participated in the Scientific Committee: the City, University through five departments, the Institute of Conservation and Restoration of Rome, the CNR in Pisa, the Superintendent of Fine Arts and this newspaper. My thanks go to all, on behalf of all our citizens. In particular, it goes to the men and women of the municipal administration who put their skills at the service of this restoration.
Once again we have shown that in Bologna the best things are done together. And the result is this: Neptune’s Fountain, which will return to burst with life as it has not been for a long time. A restoration of the entire monumental complex of its 37 bronze sculptures and stone materials that represents the tangible sign of a work begun in June 2016 with a commitment of one million euro, the result of 450,000 euro financed by the City, 550,000 thousand euro collected through the Art Bonus and donations made to ‘Il Resto del Carlino’ and thanks to the generosity of the citizens for their economic, cultural efforts.
These months saw 800 guided tours and 11 open days allowing over 42,000 people to visit the work site and see Neptune up close. At the same time this personal touch has put us face to face with the complex fragility of beauty. We have learned, once again, that the beautiful and precious things we love and that are part of our collective and personal heritage require care, respect and attention. And if today we celebrate with satisfaction the excellent results of those efforts dedicated to Neptune, I would like this care and attention to highlight the features of our beautiful city as a whole. The healthy awakening of civic feeling under the gaze of the ‘Giant.’”