Italian, 1953

Cast bronze, stone

Memorial Drive, Newport, Rhode Island

In 2004 the city of Newport asked us to restore the bronze statue of Columbus, commissioned by the Italian American Society of Newport in 1953.  Historical images showed a bronze surround, now missing. Mayor Richard Sardella located the surround’s fragments in the back of a construction company’s storehouse under an old fire escape covered with years of dirt. We discovered the story, too: In 1958 a car hit the surround, heavily damaging it. The City of Newport didn’t know how to deal with its repair, leaving the fragments for the past fifty years in the place where we found it.

The original was made in Florence, Italy by sculptor G. Coppelletti, cast by La Fonderia Marinelli. With the help of the historical images kept by a member of the Italian American Society, a wonderful foundry and equally wonderful stone cutter, we repaired or replaced the missing stone and bronze parts and reassembled the surround. With The City of Newport’s Parks Department, we replaced the surround, strategically locating bollards between the monuments and the oncoming traffic. Since then, the bollards have had to be replaced twice. The statue and its surround remain unscathed.

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