Staying “Abreast” of Famous Italian Sculpture

Italian sculpture, Italywise

Fontana delle tette once spouted red wine and white wine during important celebrations.

I’m taking a break from writing about the practicalities of living in Italy, and from philosophical musings about a big life change. As I write this post, I’m finding it impossible to wipe the smile from my face. Just yesterday I was introduced to the Fontana delle tette, which translates as “The Fountain of the Tits”. Yes, you heard correctly. This statue, found in the city of Treviso, is a famous piece of Italian sculpture, created in 1559. In the photo above, I’m lovingly wrapping my arms around this wonderful lady, who I understand is a replica of the original (encased in protective glass nearby). The story of its creation earns my admiration for Italian creativity and ingenuity. But, before I share the story as I understand it, a brief side note…

My dear mother, Liz Smith-Cox, would love this statue. I so wish she were still with me in this earthly realm so we could converse about this lovely woman. I suspect Mom would giggle mischievously, while simultaneously applauding the ingenuity of the sculpture. Liz is a legend in the world of art education. She was also raised as a Baptist, which might have squelched celebration of works of art that would be perceived as too revealing or “naughty”. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case. My mother celebrated the naked beauty of the human form, and taught me likewise. I remember, back in high school when I was her student, she had prepared a slide show of important historical works of arts. Instead of making the presentation herself, she was sidelined by a flu, necessitating a substitute teacher – one who came with some religious baggage. As the substitute played the slide show my mom had prepared, she obscured slides on the screen that featured any kind of nudity. When Mom heard about this impromptu censorship, she was furious. And, in my opinion, for just cause.

I hope the above paragraph doesn’t seem gratuitous. I share it, nonetheless, to provide context as to why I love this piece of Italian sculpture.

A brief history of Fontana delle tette

This sculpture was rendered by the orders of the mayor of the Republic of Venice, Alvise Da Ponte, in 1559 after a hard drought had plagued Treviso and the surrounding countryside. The fountain’s first home was the Praetorian Palace, in Via Calmaggiore. In the autumn, if there was a new Podesta (a high, elected official), wine would flow from the breasts of this statue. White flowed from one nipple, and red from the other. City citizens could quench their thirst for wine for three days.

Damn, I wish this still the case. I’d be lined up with the other residents, ready to drink my fill. The wines of Veneto are spectacular., But, I’ll save that for another post.

I hope you find this snippet of local history interesting. And, in closing, I raise a toast to my wonderful mother, who nursed me well in all the ways that matter! Thanks Liz!!!





By |2016-03-07T22:02:08+02:00March 8th, 2016|Exploring the Veneto|10 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!


  1. Susie March 10, 2016 at 8:18 pm - Reply

    I love this Jed! Your mother taught you how to smile with such joy!! Baci

    • Jed March 10, 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      When we forget to smile or laugh, we’re dead!

  2. Cuzin Tammy March 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    Love it! Maryann and I were just discussing you and your boobie admiration…! Grin! Miss that sweet, yet devilish smile of yours!

    • Jed March 10, 2016 at 1:11 pm - Reply

      Oh, you know me too well! Come visit so we can be devilish together! xoxox Jed

  3. Anita March 9, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Ciao Jed! History & Art at every corner of Italy’s cobblestone villages! A wonderment the eyes to see ! Thank you for taking us back into time to teach us about all these wonderful rituals of the past!! Your mom was one of the great treasures!! She opened your eyes & soul to a world most never experience! Thank God!! Anita

    • Jed March 10, 2016 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      I love the many artful ways men and women have learned to express themselves! I can only imagine what I have yet to discover. Baci, Jed

  4. Stephanie Meisel March 8, 2016 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    Cheers to Liz. I know I would have loved her as I love you. The photo broke me out in a huge ol grin.

    • Jed March 10, 2016 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      I’m glad this made you smile. The world can use a bit more light-heartedness these days. YOU always make me smile, Stephanie!

  5. Nancy March 8, 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    A fitting tribute to your Mom on la Festa Della Donna! The breasts on that statue look soft. Maybe because the fingers holding them are sinking in a bit? Really nice statue!

    • Jed March 8, 2016 at 3:02 pm - Reply

      Yes! Perfect timing to celebrate all you wonderful women! Looking forward to catching up in person! Jed

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