Italy is home to a vibrant and colorful culture. It’s where history meets the modern day, and having been there myself, I can say that there is no shortage of things to do or see. From seeing the sites like this spooky villa in Tuscany, to getting to know the locals like these fun-loving grandparents, Italy is a place you’ll discover over and over again.

So when I discovered the secrets of the Appennine Colossus, I was baffled by the ingenuity of 16th century architects and engineers. It’s not just a piece of art. It’s also a functional building! Who knew?

The Appennine Colossus is massive sculpture in the gardens of the Villa Medici at Pratolino, a villa in Tuscany that belonged to the Medici family. Created by artist Giambologna, it seems to be just a sculpture of a man. But as I’ve discovered, it’s so much more than that.

The Appennine Colossus is 35 feet tall and is a central feature of the gardens of the Tuscan Medici villa.

It’s a personification of the Apennine mountain ranges, or a merging between man and the landscape. Notice how sometimes you can’t tell if he’s man or mountain. How creative!

But, as fascinating as it is from the front, it’s what’s hidden at the back that really blew us away.

The Appennine Colossus hides a lot of secrets. Check out this cool entrance to several grottoes located inside the sculpture.

A model of the Colossus reveals the chambers inside…

And this diagram clearly shows frescoed and painted walls, two working fountains, and even a small chamber for an orchestra. But its most impressive feature? If a fire is lit in the chamber located inside its head, smoke will billow out of its nose!