Pasquino the Protester

April 16, 2010 / Local Interest
Rome, Lazio

For better or worse, Italians have a reputation for protesting the powers that be. Romans in particular are known for their sharp tongues, and not even the Prime Minister nor the Pope remain exempt from critique.

The symbol of citizen dissent since the 1500s is a limbless and deformed statue affectionately named Pasquino. Pasquinate in Italian refers to an anonymous lampoon, usually written in verse.

Roman tradition (both past and present) dictates that the oppressed may lodge a written complaint concerning the government and religious authorities by posting an accusatory poem in Roman dialect on the base of the statue.

The real identity of “Pasquino” is unknown, but despite his anonymity he has managed to make some friends throughout the eternal city.

Pasquino2 In fact, there are five other “talking statues” in Rome that make up the so-called Congregation of Wits, of which Pasquino is the undisputed leader.

Pasquino3

Ian Zurzolo

by Ian Zurzolo

Writer, editor, American University of Rome graduate, Italian Notebook Editorial Intern.

3 Responses to “Pasquino the Protester”

  1. Gale Iannone in CT, USA

    Who knew that the ancients were the first users of Post-It notes. LOL.

    Reply
  2. I will bet I am one of the only people that saw this whose real name is actually Pasquino. My dad thought it would be better than Pasquale, which was his father’s name. I do not think he knew of the story of Pasquino at the time.

    Reply

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