Did you know there is a statue of Christ the Redeemer in Italy?
Updated: Sep 11
When you read or hear about the statue of Christ the Redeemer, most people think of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. This has become a statue of great significance: a symbol of Christianity, a cultural icon of both Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and was voted as one of the new seven wonders of the world. Thanks to its importance, it has become one of those sights that many people include on their bucket list to visit at least once in their lifetime. For those who have the Christ the Redeemer statue on their bucket list, and live in Europe, there is one to be found closer to home, namely in Maratea, Italy.
Surprisingly, the statue in Italy remains quite unknown to many, although it is the tallest statue in Italy, and is the third-tallest statue of Jesus in Europe. Compared to other Jesus statues in the world, this one is the sixth-largest. To be precise, the statue is 21.20 meters high, and its arm-span is 19 meters from the left fingertip to the right fingertip. To put it into perspective, its head alone is 3 meters in height. The statue is located in Maratea (Basilicata), southern Italy, on top of a mountain called St. Biagio.
The statue of Christ the Redeemer in Maratea was created by the sculptor Bruno Innocenti, and was completed in 1965. Interestingly, since 1907, before the statue was there, a memorial iron cross had stood atop the mountain. The cross commemorated the lives that were lost during the invasion of Naples in the early 19th century. Because of the location of the cross, and since the cross was made from iron, it was often struck by lightning, and became severely damaged over time. As a result, the cross was replaced in 1941 by a concrete cross with lightning conductors, and the memorable winding road leading up to the cross was constructed as well.
The idea to replace the cross with a statue of Jesus came from Count Stefano Rivetti di Val Cervo, who went on a trip to Brazil and flew over Corcovado, where the tallest and most famous statue of Christ the Redeemer can be found. Upon his return, he asked Bruno Innocenti (a sculptor at the Istituto d’Arte in Florence) to replace the cross with said statue. Much like the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Innocenti opted for a realistic representation of Jesus that would complement the surrounding beauty of the landscape. Compared to the statue in Brazil, the statue in Maratea is younger and more joyful. The arms of Jesus are raised in almost a 45-degree angle, his palms are facing upwards, and the bottom of the robe is set slightly ahead of the other on one side. This creates the illusion of the statue moving forward.
For the bucket list pursuers, travellers and history seekers among us, this statue is definitely worth the visit, both in winter and summer. Not only does the statue impress, at the foot of the statue a breathtaking view can be enjoyed, as it is surrounded by a 360-degree view of coasts, rugged and steep cliffs, and beautiful mountain tops. Another benefit is that the statue is a lot less well known than the one in Brazil and therefore has fewer crowds.