Did You Even Notice?

The slabby Verrazzano “monument” has been removed from Memorial Park . . . thank god. We should commemorate the 1524 voyage of Italian explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano — he probably came up with our state name — but this cheap concrete mess did him no honor. It wasn’t bad design — it was no design. Those brick footings are dire.

I suspect that the thing was removed to improve the crowd flow on WaterFire nights. This is a busy spot located between the Ten31 Productions living gargoyles and valkyries, the Starry Starry night display, the seating along the riverfront, and people returning to their cars. Verrazzano was just in the way. And we renamed the Jamestown Bridge after him which is a much greater honor, and more fitting.

I hope this monument hasn’t been relocated; I can’t find any reference to it. The inscription on the back noted that it had been donated by the people of Greve in Chianti and Carrara. I wonder if they ever saw the finished product — the standards for monument building in Tuscany are pretty high.

Fun fact: Verrazzano was eaten by cannibals. Probably. According to Tony Horwitz* in his hilarious and informative book, “A Voyage Long and Strange,”

In 1528, on a return voyage to America, Verrazzano went ashore on a Caribbean island that ppeared deserted. He was quickly seized by natives, the “cut into pieces and eaten down to the smallest bone.” Or so claims the only surviving account of his landing . . .

He should have stuck with the Narragansetts.

*Mr. Horwitz, a Brown alum, died unexpectedly last year. (NYT obit.)

2 thoughts on “Did You Even Notice?”

  1. The monument was actually moved to St. John’s Park, which is at the corner of Atwells & Sutton St. :/

  2. John McGrath

    The claim that Verrazano was eaten by cannibals may well have been Spanish propaganda to bolster the moral case for its conquests and mistreatment of native Americans. Good article.

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