Talking Statues of Rome
A roman statue used as a talking statue

Talking statues of Rome.

It all started in 1501, when during the road construction, a small statue was discovered and placed in one of the corners of Piazza Navona. Few days later first note was posted right on the statue, and then another one, and another one. People started using the statue to spread the rumors, to post satirical poems, and to express their thoughts on government and the Vatican. The statue became known as a statue of Pasquino. It was named in honor of a local resident.

Pasquino was a tailor by trade and one day, his job took him to the Vatican where he was able to see and learn what was going on “behind the scene”. He talked about what he saw with his wife and friends, and they spread the gossip around the neighborhood and then the whole town. Pasquino became so famous that his name became a generic term for political satire, in fact the English word “pasquinade” comes from Pasquino.

The Popes and the police tried to stop people from using the statue as a billboard for political satire, authorities posted the guards by the statue, and even offered a reward for any authors who would come forward, according to the legend one man responded, he was arrested and then as a punishment his hands were cut off. After this event people turned to other statues such as statue of Abate Luigi, Marforio, statue of Fontana del Babuino, Fontana del Facchino and Madama Lucrezia.

The funny thing is that all these talking statues still exist, and people still post satirical remarks and poems on them, not only in Rome, but all over Italy.

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