More than 20 years after the murder of Guidarello Guidarelli, a Cesare Borgia official, at Palazzo Monsignani in Imola, the sculptor named Tullio Lombardo dedicated this incredible masterpiece to the unlucky knight in 1525.
During the centuries following the monument’s creation, it became legendary across the globe. According to legends, any woman who kissed the statue would be married the same year, while any spouse would eventually have a child as beautiful as the Guidarelli.
The story became so popular, especially during the Romantic period of the 19th-century, that women from all over the world would send love letters to the statue. There was also an office in Ravenna that managed all the correspondence.
From an artistic point of view, there is a strong contrast between the stylized armor and the very detailed, realistic face, one that transmits the agony and pain of the man whose life was violently taken away. The statue was so appreciated that museums, such as the South Kensington Museum in London, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and museums of Buenos Aires wanted a copy of the sculpture.
When the original statue was finally cleaned of lipstick and residue in 2004, it was estimated that more than a million women kissed Guidarelli.
Today, the beautiful monument can be seen at the Ravenna Art Museum, although now housed in a glass case.
Know Before You Go
Museum hours are Tuesday - Saturday 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sunday and holidays from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Closed on Mondays. Last admission one hour before closing time. Guaranteed access to 20 people every 20 minutes.
Full price: € 9, Discount price: € 7, Students, Academy and University: € 5.