October 25, 2015

Piazza della Passera, to be nice about it

Piazza della Passera is a small square on the south side of the Arno River in the Oltrarno, in downtown Florence.

Apparently it's had other more whitewashed names but the "inconvenient" Passera is the one that has stuck.

Passera means sparrow but is also a euphemism for the female genitalia.

According to the wiki entry in Italian, the sparrow version originated in a story about some kids who found a dying sparrow in the square in 1348. They tried to save it but it turned out the bird was infected with the plague that wound up killing almost half of Florence's citizens in those dark days.

The genitalia version, on the other hand, stemmed from the fact that the area was a bit of Red Light district and frequented by johns as high ranking as Cosimo I, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Anyway, who knows which theory is correct. To me in any place or location, whether the subject of art or a spot to live, it's the mystery and pretext for storytelling that should count more.

"Piazza della Passera, to be nice about it"
Mixed media on panel
23.6" x 27.5" (60cm x 70cm)

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