Elisa Falcone Crypt, 1893

Thanks to a generous anonymous donor, we have restored Giovanni Scanzi’s beautiful memorial to the young Elisa Falcone.


  • The artists original model

    The artists original model

    This photograph of Giovanni Scanzi’s Falcone memorial sculpture was taken in his studio prior to installation, and first published in 1890. It then was reprinted in this 1922 book.
  • The Falcone sculpture prior to restoration.

    The Falcone sculpture prior to restoration.

    Covered with thick layers of dirt and pollution, the beauty and detail of this graceful work is hidden from us.
  • Giovanni Scanzi's 1893 memorial to Elisa Falcone

    Giovanni Scanzi's 1893 memorial to Elisa Falcone

  • Falcone memorial, 1893

    Falcone memorial, 1893

    A detail of this wonderful sculpture. The once gleaming white marble is coated with thick layers of dust, which abrades the surface and retains moisture and pollutants, which in turn break down the stone.
  • Detail of the Falcone crypt sculpture

    Detail of the Falcone crypt sculpture

    Giovanni Scanzi was noted for his dramatic yet delicate treatment of the human form.

The crypt of Elisa Carcano Falcone was commissioned by her husband Giacomo Falcone, president of the Mediterranean Railway Society and counselor to the city of Genoa. His young wife had passed away after only a few years of marriage, leaving behind behind a young son just two years old.

The sculptor, Giovanni Scanzi, created this allegory to express the extreme pain of the two spirits, born to live together but torn apart. One goes to heaven, and the other remains on earth, weeping.

Although smaller than many of the memorials in the eastern gallery at Staglieno, when unveiled this sculpture was highly regarded and praised. Even before the carving was complete, Ferdinando Resasco, son of Giambattista Resasco, the architect of Staglieno, published a photo of the plaster model in his 1892 book about Staglieno. (text from the later 1922 edition is shown on these pages.

Scanzi, 1840-1915, was a student of the sculptor Santo Varni, and a teacher of many others, including Eugenio Baroni. In his day he was considered to be one of the greatest sculptors in Genoa, but with the change in artistic tastes that came with the advent of modernism, his name faded from art history.


Return to the In Progress page