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The Talking Statues

The " talking statues" in Rome refer to an ancient tradition, still alive today. Discover the ancient history of Italy's most famous statues.

The story of the talking statues refers to the time when Rome was ruled by the pope, who had complete power to reign over the city, usually with a heavy hand which created a lot of conflict among the political class and citizens. To demonstrate their discontent, in the sixteenth century, people would hang satirical posters next to certain statues around Rome, to communicate their unhappiness but also to avoid being prosecuted.

The statues were therefore referred to as "talking statues", and became an outlet Romans to expressed their disagreement with the power of the pope, and also with institutions in general in later years. There were originally 6 talking statues in Rome, called the "Congress of the Argonauts". Around the statues on posters, you could have read anything from texts to funny dialogues, to poems, usually by unknown authors.

The statues, who became real heroes in Rome to speak with the united voice of the people, were given names and they are still some of the most exciting attractions like the famous statue of Pasquino.



Statue of Pasquino: Is considered the most characteristic talking statue in Rome.  Pasquino refers to the "pasquinate", the satirical posters that were hung on the statue during the night. The statue is located in Pasquino Square, near Navona Square, and is a male bust from the third century BC, probably depicting a hero of Ancient Greece.

Statue of Marforio: This is a large marble sculpture and is the second most famous talking statue in Rome after Pasquino. It is believed that the statue represents the God Neptune, although some have also attributed it to the Ocean and the Tiber. The statue, after being moved several times, is currently at the New Palace in Campidoglio's Square in Rome.


Statue of Madama Lucrezia: Is a big bust that sits between the Venetian Palace and the Basilica of St. Mark the Evangelist to the Capitol. The subject of the statue is debated: some people think that it depicts a priestess, others think it is the Goddess Isis. It is also believed that the lady in question was Lucrezia d'Alagno.


Statue of Abate Luigi: This is a marble bust from the late Roman era and is located along the side wall of the Basilica of St Andrew in the Valley in Rome. This talking statue probably depicting a judge or a politician, takes its name from the sexton of the church.


Statue of the Babuino: This talking statue is of Silenus and is located in front of the church of St Athanasius of the Greeks in the famous Via del Babuino of Rome. The statue is part of a decorative fountain that once served as a watering place for horses.


Statue of Facchino: This is the youngest of the talking statues in Rome and shows a man pouring water from a barrel. Currently it is located on the front side of the building of the Banco di Roma, near Venice Square.



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