In Renaissance Rome, when strict laws punished those who spoke out against those who controlled the city, citizens began hanging their protests on certain statues, a practice which still exists today. Now the ‘talking statues’ are being restored.
The humble statue was placed near Piazza Navona by Cardinal Carafa, who held a Latin poetry contest each year and used the statue to hang and display the poems for all to see and admire. Over the years, however, more than just poetry began appearing on the statue. The work became a platform for mocking notes from the public.
Eventually, the statue became known as “Pasquino,” taking its name from a neighborhood tailor with a biting wit. The tailor’s and others’ satirical poems and other such postings eventually became known as “pasquinate” and, in modern English, “pasquinade” now means a satirical piece of writing posted in a public place.