Have you ever heard of rome’s famous speaking statues? Perhaps you have, during a trip to the eternal city. But did you know that these statues are symbols of an ancient tradition rooted in roman popular culture? In this guide, we will talk about rome’s speaking statues, with a focus on the most famous of all: pasquino. We will discover the history of these statues, their current meaning, and their role in city life. By the end of the reading, you will have a complete overview of these curious works of art and you can also book a luxury apartment for your next trip to rome through our website.
the speaking statues of rome are an ancient tradition, dating back to the medieval period. These are statues made of marble or bronze, generally depicting historical or mythological characters, which were used as places for the diffusion of anonymous messages and social criticism. These statues were placed in public places, such as squares or alleys, and handwritten posters were affixed to them, generally in the form of verses or latin inscriptions. These messages, known as “pasquinades”, were often ironic or provocative and had the purpose of denouncing injustices or social vices.
the most famous statue among the speaking statues of rome is certainly pasquino, located in the pigna district, in the heart of the city’s historical center. The statue represents an elderly man, with a thick beard and a tunic, and is located in a small square with the same name. But who is pasquino and where does his name come from?
Legend has it that pasquino was a man who lived in the 2nd century bc, during the punic wars period. He was a character known for his irony and his ability to mock the powerful of the time. One day, pasquino was turned into a statue by a magician as punishment for his constant mockery. The statue was placed in a public place and, from then on, it began to be used as a place for the diffusion of anonymous messages and criticism. The name “pasquino” comes from this legend, as it is thought to be a corruption of the latin “pascuinus”, which means “little lamb”.
today, pasquino is still a very popular statue in rome and every day posters with ironic-satirical messages are affixed to it. The pasquinades of today, however, are no longer only in latin, but can also be written in italian or in other languages. Pasquino has become a symbol of freedom of speech and social criticism and its inscriptions are often used to denounce injustices or problems in the city.
pasquino is not the only speaking statue in rome. There are others, such as:
located near the pantheon, it depicts a warrior and was used to spread news and political criticism.
located at the foot of the aventine, it depicts an anthropomorphic figure with the face of a baboon. It was used to spread religious or moral messages.
located in the monti district, it represents a porter with a sack on his shoulder. It was used to spread messages of an economic or commercial nature.
the speaking statues of rome are an ancient and fascinating tradition, telling the history of the city and its popular culture. Pasquino, in particular, has become a symbol of freedom of speech and social criticism. If you want to learn more about these curious works of art during your next trip to rome, don’t forget to book a luxury apartment through our website.