Originally designed as a plant nursery, the Grotta Grande of the Boboli Gardens owes its current arrangement to architect and engineer Bernardo Buontalenti, who re-designed the previous project by Giorgio Vasari between 1582 and 1593, creating three rooms covered with sponges, rocks and other heterogeneous materials, in order to provide a scenery to fountains, water features and sculptures.
The first room was adapted to house Michelangelo's four Prisons, set to support the grottos' walls as telamons (now replaced by casts). The second and third rooms house the sculptural group of Theseus and Elena by Vincenzo de' Rossi and the Venus by Giambologna, respectively.
Premises and spaces are therefore articulated as follows:
- First room
- Second room
- Third room (Venus tiny grotto)
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