As part of my photo walk on Sunday, I went down via del Governo Vecchio and so of course encountered the Pasquino. The Pasquino is one of (and probably the most famous) the talking statues, which I wrote about in my post on via del Babuino. I love this one because it’s still in use and the Roman people have been using it as a forum to air their grievances about politics since the 1500s. Imagine my surprise when last night via an Italian news roundup on Italylogue, I saw there is a new restoration project that is aiming to “silence” this practice.
I just want to say this makes me really angry and is the biggest waste of time ever. This is of course the exact sort of story fed to the English media, as it makes it look like the city is trying to “clean up” and take care of things. I scoff at them thinking a website where people can air their grievances is the same thing. Do they not realize the artistic patrimony they are trying to protect is being endangered by this very act? Hello! The pasquinades are part of the social and cultural fabric of the city. These things just frustrate me because I see so many other things this money could be spent on here, and yet it goes to this. And I am the biggest supporter of restoring culture — art and culture is what I’m the most passionate about. Maybe I’ve just been here for awhile and have become skeptical, but how is this the same city that was just trying to hold the Champion’s League final at the Colosseum, forsaking all good sense in archaeology? Thank goodness that public outcry was so big that they’ve now had to move their plans. Why they don’t just do it at the stadium is beyond me.
You know what though, it won’t stick. The pope put a death penalty on these poems back in Renaissance times and that didn’t stop the Romans, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, people never follow the rules here….and this time I’d agree!