Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Babuino (baboon) statue

In Via del Babuino, one of the three streets departing from Piazza del Popolo, there is a very particular statue. This sculpture most likely represents a silenus, one of the companions of the greek god of the wine, Dyonisus. It was considered to be so ugly by the romans that they nicknamed it "babbuino", baboon. Its ugliness gave then the name to the street where it is! But it is so popular also because of a certain cardinal Dezza, who was living close by it at the end of 1500. It seems that, passing by the statue every day, he was used to bow and greet it. He was almost surely shortsighted and maybe thinking that the "baboon" was a saint! Since then the people started to have fun about this statue so that, shortly afterwards, it became a "talking statue" of Rome where the people could (and still can) hang poems, satires and invectives against famous people or politicians.