Imola is a beautiful city located along the Via Emilia, not far from Bologna. At the centre of the city lies the Rocca Sforzesca (Sforza Castle), a medieval castle, and an excellent example of fortified architecture between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In 1502 Cesare Borgia called Leonardo da Vinci to prepare the drawings and reinforcement work on the building after the damage caused by its conquest. It was at that time that Leonardo designed the famous city plan currently owned by the Queen of England and kept at Windsor Palace.
Restoration of the historical lamp posts
In the early Twentieth Century, the historical centre of Imola was subject to the most important transformations of its thousand-year history, capable of subverting routes and urban polarity. Among the various interventions, an important one was the reorganisation of Piazza Vittorio Emanuele, chosen as the location for a large monument to those lost in the First World War. The choice of the chandeliers that were to light the monument and the square was not a random one. In addition to fulfilling their function of lighting the area, the lamp posts also needed to blend in with the grandeur of the monument and its numerous decorative elements: winged victories, fasces, and laurel wreaths. The administration’s choice was for a lamp post performing a similar function in Rome, crowning another great monument: the Column of Marcus Aurelius. A lamp post founded in Rome at the end of the Nineteenth century by the Bastianelli-Avanzini foundry. The monument to the fallen soldiers was inaugurated on 13 June 1928 in the presence of Queen Elena and King Victor Emmanuel III. Only six examples of this type of chandelier have survived: four in Imola and two in Rome. Of the six that originally stood near the Column of Marcus Aurelius and Palazzo Montecitorio, only the two crowning the entrance to Parliament remain in their original position.
The lamp posts in Imola had been kept in bad condition in a warehouse for decades, where they were exposed to the elements and subjected to stripping and breaking. Neri took care of their restoration, replicating the missing parts, equipping the lamp post with a steel core, and restoring the completely rusted surface to its original condition. The complete absence of the festoons that originally decorated the lamp post led to a casting of the only original, left in Montecitorio, in order to faithfully replicate the copies required for the restoration work. The same replication work was done for the winged lions, of which multiple examples had disappeared. The monument and four restored lamp posts were not reassembled in the original square, but were positioned in a garden in the bypass, where the monumental size of the cast iron and stone works are not effected in the least.