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THE TALKING STATUES

The tradition of the talking statues, dating back from the 16th century, is deeply rooted in the Roman culture. Here the people used to leave criticisms in the form of poems and mockery messages addressed to public and religious figures, as an early form of bullettin board. We can count at least six statues scattered across the historic center: the statue of Pasquino (Piazza Pasquino, behind Piazza Navona); the colossal Madama Lucrezia (piazza San Marco), the only sculpture depicting a female subject; Marforio (Marphurius), a large marble sculpture of a reclining bearded river god or Oceanus, which in the past has been variously identified as a depiction of Jupiter, Neptune, or the Tiber (Capitoline Museums); Il Babuino (The Baboon), an ancient depiction of a reclining Silenus (the people of Rome christened the figure “babuino” because they considered it ugly and deformed, like a monkey, and the street was nicknamed the “via del Babuino” as a result); Il Facchino (The Porter) also known as L’Acquarolo (The Barrel), attributed to Michelangelo and dedicated to the drunkards (via Lata); the statue of Abate Luigi (Abbot Louis) (piazza Vidoni) which tells, on behalf of the other statues, their mission: “I was a citizen of Ancient Rome, now all call me Abbot Louis, along with Marforio and Pasquino I conquer eternal fame for urban satire, I received offences, disgrace, and burial, till here I found new life and finally safety”.

Check in Rome - a project by Markonet in cooperation with Aeroporti di Roma and Codacons | director: Stefano Zerbi