Pasquino ☆☆☆

Pasquino, near Piazza Navona, is the most famous statua parlante (talking statue) of Rome, Pasquino, Rome, Italy (Photo by Emanuele)
Pasquino, near Piazza Navona, is the most famous statua parlante (talking statue) of Rome

The Pasquino is the most famous of Rome's "Talking Statues"

, Pasquino, Rome, Italy. (Photo by Peter Heeling)
A 1550 engraving of Pasquino by French artist Nicolas Beatrizet (who was studying in Rome under Michelangelo at the time)., Pasquino, Rome, Italy. (Photo Public Domain)

This ancient, ruinous statue of an anonymous Roman warrior has for centuries served as the voice of Rome's witty oppressed—sort of the editorial essays and political cartoons or the era—a political soapbox for those who've wanted to voice their opinions anonymously by writing them on plaques hung around the statue's neck. These even have a name: Pasquinades.

(The Pasquino himself is named after one of the earliest and most famous of these Roman wags, a late medieval agitator who, though anonymous, was widely known to be a local barber named Pasquino.)

One of Pasquino's most famous quips had to do with the nearby Pantheon—famously such a gorgeous ancient temple that not even the barbarian hordes of the Dark Ages avoiding sacking it. However, when in 1623 Barberini Pope Urban VIII removed the bronze revetments from the nearby Pantheon's portico, melting them down to make Bernini's baldacchino in St. Peter's and canons for Castel Sant'Angelo. Pasquino was quick to comment: "Quod non fecerunt Barberi, fecerunt Barberini," ("What even the barbarians wouldn't do, Barberini did.")

(The pope also later had Bernini add two squat turrets to either side of the Pantheon's pediment, eyesores which Pasquino quickly dubbed "Bernini's ass's ears.")

The Pasquino tradition is by no means dead—though Latin is rarely used these days, and it has evolved into pasted-up computer print-outs and scrawls of graffiti on the surrounding walls. (Though of late, most Romans have learned simply to paste papers to Pasquino's pedestal, or on a board leaning against the wall.)

Pasquino and his friends (the fellow statue parlanti) continue to hold forth on everything from Italian popular culture to political scandals to the European financial crisis.

A few years ago, the Palazzo Braschi against which the Pasquino stands was being worked on. As work began, the workmen erected—as they usually do on such jobs—a plank board wall all around the base of the building. Within days this wall was slathered in posters, papers, and graffiti, most with messages along the lines "Help, I can't see!" and "Hey, where did everybody go?" and "You cannot silence Pasquino!"

By the following week, workers had re-jiggered the wall so that it tucked in to either side of Pasquino, revealing him to the public once again and allowing him to hold forth in freedom.

Photo gallery
  • Pasquino, near Piazza Navona, is the most famous statua parlante (talking statue) of Rome, Pasquino, Italy (Photo by Emanuele)
  • , Pasquino, Italy (Photo by Peter Heeling)
  • A 1550 engraving of Pasquino by French artist Nicolas Beatrizet (who was studying in Rome under Michelangelo at the time)., Pasquino, Italy (Photo Public Domain)
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Tips

How long does The Pasquino take?

Not much time is needed to view this sight. Take a few minutes to read the banter and messages from the statue to the city.

Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for sightseeing

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is?... Dov'é doh-VAY
...the museum il museo eel moo-ZAY-yo
...the church la chiesa lah key-YAY-zah
...the cathedral il duomo [or] la cattedrale eel DUO-mo [or] lah cah-the-DRAH-leh
     
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
Closed day giorno di riposo JOR-no dee ree-PO-zo
Weekdays (Mon-Sat) feriali fair-ee-YA-lee
Sunday & holidays festivi fe-STEE-vee
     
ticket biglietto beel-YET-toh
two adults due adulti DOO-way ah-DOOL-tee
one child un bambino oon bahm-BEE-no
one student uno studente OO-noh stu-DENT-ay
one senior un pensionato oon pen-see-yo-NAH-toh

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 

Other statue parlanti

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