Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Discover Rome - taking a closer look at some of the hidden treasures of Rome and some of my favourite Roman curiosities that are sometimes overshadowed by the city's more famous landmarks.
Whilst many visitors to Rome will have probably seen the statues of Pasquino or Il Babuino, it would be easy to miss the fountain which is my personal favourite of the so-called 'Congregation of Wits', otherwise known as Rome’s 'Talking Statues' - Il Facchino (The Porter).
Once situated on Via del Corso, this late sixteenth-century fountain of a water seller carrying a leaking barrel was moved to the side street Via Lata, in 1874, where it is found to this day, tucked away from the teeming masses of tourists and shoppers along the main street. Generally thought to be the work of Jacopo Del Conte, in 1751 the architect Luigi Vanvitelli attributed the statue to Michelangelo Buonarroti!
Traditionally, political satires known as pasquinades, written anonymously by the ordinary people of Rome to ridicule the ruling classes and the Pope, were attached to the talking statues. Whilst Pasquino is still covered with photocopied grievances and political flyers to this day, the craggy faced porter is pretty much ignored, apart from the odd bit of ubiquitous Roman graffiti.