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Monument of the Four Moors


One of Livorno’s most well-known icons

The Monument of the Four Moors is surely a symbol of the city of Livorno. At the centre of the work is a marble statue depicting Grand Duke Ferdinand I, but it’s the bronze prisoners at his feet that best characterize the sculpture.

The figures were made at two different times: the image of Ferdinand was the first to be created and was located for a long time in another place before being moved to its current home in 1617. The reason for the sculpture was certainly celebrative, which can be seen by the clothing the Grand Duke wears, the uniform of the Grand Master of the Order of St. Stephan, an order founded by Cosimo I to liberate the sea from fearsome pirates that would attack the Livorno coast.

Monument of the Four Moors
Monument of the Four Moors - Credit: Elena Tedeschi

It seems that the model for the four bronze statues were real Saracen pirates that were captured by the city. Pietro Tacca, the Tuscan sculptor who was entrusted with the second part of the monument, made them with extreme anatomical perfection, giving the idea that the bodies are writhing in torment.

A fun fact: it’s said that looking at the statue from a position that allows you to see all four of their noses at the same time brings luck. To help out the most hopeful, the municipality of Livorno recently installed a small, white brick to indicate the very place to stand to take advantage of such luck.

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