Friday, July 31, 2009

Fides

Weather wane, Town Hall, LivornoOn the weather vane on top of the Town Hall of Livorno we can see the Latin word “Fides” (trust). In 1496 Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, was at war with the Florentine Republic, so an imperial army laid siege to Livorno to cut Florence access to the sea, while a fleet blockaded the port. Hundreds of peasants from the boroughs aronnd the town, tired of past destruction, volunteered to join the defense.Villano, peasant statue, LivornoA legend says that a “villano” (peasant), Guerrino of Montenero, distinguished himself leading his men in the defence of the old fort. It seems that he even shot with a falconet the Emperor himself, barely missing and tearing one of his brocade sleeves. After three weeks of siege some unespected help came with a “libecciata” (gale force wind) that destroyed part of the imperial fleet and ravaged the camp of the assailants, leading the Emperor to end his siege.Villano, peasant statue, LivornoThe grateful Florence gave the Livornesi the right to fly a standard with “Fides” written on it, a word that now shows up on every coat of arms of Livorno. A first monument “al villano” (to the peasant) was then erected at the bastion successfully defended by Guerrino and his men: the work represented a man with a dog, as a symbol of trust. The statue we see today is the third incarnation of the monument: it is a work of Vitaliano De Angelis and Giulio Guiggi and was erected in “Largo Fratelli Rosselli” in 1956 to replace a more ancient artifact lost in the last war.

See also: Town Hall
External links: Maximilian I - Holy Roman Emperor - Republic of Florence - Falconet (Wikipedia)

20 comments:

MaCoBra said...

Interesting story I think that stories of 'sacrifice' above own good or safety are most commemorated.

joo said...

Really superb statue and what a story behind!
Have a nice day:)

Saretta said...

Thanks for that interesting story!

m_m said...

Thanks for this post full of history! Lovely shots, especially the first one!

Cezar and Léia said...

Magnificent monument and I loved this story!
Have a great weekend dear friends!
Léia

Bonjour Luxembourg

margaret said...

Next year I will break it gently to my boss that I am taking two weeks off at once and buy a rail pass for Italy - Livornon wasn't on my first itinerary but looking at your photos and reading your history I think it might be added :)

Leif Hagen said...

Great statues and nice photography of them as always! Ciao!

Antjas said...

Your story sounds similar to our story of the American Revolution. The peasant wins the day. However, it seems as though your peasants had a little help from mother nature. What would Livorno be today without that storm?

B SQUARED said...

Wish we were around then. We would have helped you repel the invaders.

brattcat said...

Love the first shot particularly in this fact-filled post.

Nikki Beaumont said...

What a brave band of people! I love that they are committed to remembering this part of history and have kept replacing the statue as needed! - Great photos of it, too!

Ming the Merciless said...

Cool story! Everyone needs a good hero to look up to.

James said...

Great story and I love the pictures. Especially the middle one.

Jacob said...

What a great story, VP! Neat statue, too!

cieldequimper said...

Thank goodness for our past, though understanding the constant warfare is harder these days.

JM said...

Very interesting informative post and nice compositions too!

ellievellie said...

Step by step - little man can change the world - nice reminder about the power of courage and the power of "a little luck" :)

Baruch said...

I like the photo of the rustic weather vane

tapirgal said...

The colors and worn look of the weather vane are especially appealing. I also enjoy learning Italian history on your site. You always give us a lot to think about as well as to look at! :)

Per Stromsjo said...

That's odd. Almost like “Fides” would be some kind of trademark which cannot be used without explicit permission.