Sunday, 2 June 2013

Talking Heads

A tour that takes in all six 'talking statues' of Rome in one day. The talking statues were established in Renaissance Rome at a time when opposition to the Papal government was considered heresy. The resourceful Roman citizens used ancient statues as a vehicle for satirical comment. Sometimes the statues even 'talked' to each other!

Start your day at the Spanish Steps. Make your way along to Via del Babuino which connects Piazza di Spagna to Piazza del Popolo. About half way along on the left hand side is your first talking statue, Fontana del Sileno otherwise known as Babuino or baboon.


Continue on to Piazza del Popolo & look for the little electric bus (no. 117) at the top of the Via del Corso. Tickets for the bus are available where you see the following sign.

 Take the bus 4 stops to Corso/Minghetti. Continue walking down Via del Corso until you see Via Lata on your right. Here you will see your second talking statue - Facchino, otherwise known as the porter. This is also one of the oldest fountains in the city and was built as a memorial to Abbondio Rizi, head of the porters' guild in 15th century Rome.
Retrace your steps and continue walking down Via del Corso until you reach Piazza Venezia. Head right to the Basilica di San Marco. In the corner, attached to the walls of the Palazzetto Venezia is your third talking statue, Madama Lucrezia.
The fourth talking statue is actually in the Capitoline Museum which is easily reached by crossing the road (carefully!) & climbing the Cordonata to Piazza dei Campodoglio, designed by Michelangelo. Marforio, the fourth talking statue is situated in the second wing of the Capitoline Museum.

There is so much to see here including the original statue of Marcus Aurelius, the replica of which you will have just seen in Piazza del Campodoglio. There is also a lovely terrace café for refreshments.
After you have exhausted the delights of the museum take Via D'Aracoeli directly opposite the steps and walk along until you reach Piazza del Gesu. Turn left on to Corso Vittorio Emanuele and continue on to Piazza Vidoni (next to Sant'Andrea della Valle) Here you will find Abate Luigi, yet another talking statue. Sadly, he appears to have lost his head several times!
Continue along Corso Vittorio Emanuele to Piazza di Pasquino and probably the most famous of the talking statues, Pasquino himself.
The original statue is believed to have started life as part of a group representing an incident in Homer's Iliad where Menelaus shields the body of the slain Petrioclus and dates back to the 3rd century BC. It suffered the ignominy of being used as a stepping stone before it was erected on this corner near the shop of an outspoken cobbler named Pasquino. The rest is history, so much so that the word pasquinade has past in to the English language, referring to a lampoon.
Here ends our day exploring the talking statues of Rome. Cul de Sac  in the piazza would be a good choice to sit and reflect on your day, maybe whilst enjoying a glass of wine.
What you have seen today is part of history but what this post by Spanish Steps Apartment shows is that new statues are carrying on the tradition.

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