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Porcellino Fountain

Wild Boar brings luck

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Popular tradition has it that touching the snout of the boar will bring good fortune. It has become shiny due to continued daily polishing by hundreds of hands. Legend has it that good luck will come to those who place a coin on the muzzle of Florence’s wild-boar and let it fall into the underlying grate. If the coins fall beyond the grate where the water runs they will bring luck. In reality, the structure’s inclination is such that only the heavier coins fall into the cracks, much to the city’s satisfaction.

Though its popular name is ‘Porcellino’ or ‘little pig’ the statue actually depicts a wild boar. The fountain now hosts a copy of Pietro Tacca’s original (1633). The artist himself had copied a Hellenistic marble statue that is preserved in the Uffizi today. The whole structure was completed in 1640 by Cosimo II and it was placed in front of the homonymous Chemist shop ‘Il Porcellino’ on via Por Santa Maria.

In the nineteenth century, to facilitate traffic on that street, the fountain was moved to its current southern location—today’s ex-Borsa Merci. The fountain had a mainly practical function as it supplied water to the merchants who traded under the loggia. At that time, they were specialized in trading precious fabrics such as silks, brocades and wool.

Its base is octagonal in shape, the front hosts a small pool where rivulets of water fall from the mouth of the Porcellino. The base, also in bronze, depicts marshlands with wild boars, plants and animals such as amphibians, reptiles and molluscs; all are remarkably realistic. Even the base you see is no longer the original; it was redone in 1897 by Clemente Papi. Later, to repair subsequent damage it was recast in 1988 by Ferdinando Marinelli. There are numerous copies of this fountain throughout the world. One is in front of the Hospital of Sydney, another is hosted at the Castle Park of Enghien in Belgium.
An astonishing city of art, fashion and tradition
If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is a treasure trove of art with an astonishing contemporary vibe. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or to get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the ...