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HIDDEN TREASURES OF FLORENCE: THE STONE OF SHAME Via Por Santa Maria-Logge del Mercato Nuovo Firenze

Just a few meters from Ponte Vecchio and Signoria square,  in the Loggia del Mercato Nuovo, better known as the “Loggia del Porcellino”, you can admire the famous bronze fountain depicting a piglet: a popular tradition has it that rubbing its nose brings fortune, so now the pig nose shines, after a million rubbings.  By night - when the area is clear from  the stalls  selling straw hats and leather items - the loggia unveils another curious detail, that’s the “stone of shame”, a round spot marked in green and white marble, placed  right in the centre of the loggia. The stone design reproduces one of the wheels of the  medieval Carroccio, a chart symbol of the Florentine republic, on which the city's flag  was hoisted daily: the Carroccio was placed on this stone and Florentine troops met around it before every battle. The place was later chosen for another purpose, hence its alternative name “stone of shame or of acculata”, this word recalling the bottom of a person. During the Renaissance, in fact, the punishment of insolvent debtors included being chained to a post on this spot and then paddled three times on the naked buttocks in public view. This ritual was performed both to satisfy the anger of creditors and to show everybody the troubles of making  business with a fraudulent  person, but could also save  the debtors ‘ lives as nobody could do any harm.

 

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