Abbot Luigi Rome
Address, Opening hours and admission
Address: Piazza Vidoni – Rome. Nearest bus stop: Largo di Torre Argentina (lines 30, 40, 46, 62, 64, 70, 81, 87, 130F, 190F, 492, 628, 916, 916F, N5, N6, N7, N15, N20, SHOP1) and Rinascimento (lines 70, 81, 87, 492, 628, N6, N7). Opening hours and admission: The statue can be seen from outside.
History and description
Before it was placed in the Piazza Vidoni the Abbot Luigi stood in the courtyard of the Palazzo Chigi in the Piazza Colonna. Before that the statue adorned the Palazzo Caffarelli Vidoni, adjacent to its present location.
The Abbot Luigi depicts a man in a toga and dates back to the late Roman Empire. It is said that the name stems from his likeness to the abbot of a nearby church. Unfortunately the abbot Luigi is headless, so even if the real abbot were still alive, there would be no way to verify this. (In 2009, when the statue was restored and cleaned, a head, copied of a statue in the Museo di Roma in Trastevere) was added.
The talking statues were used by the population of Rome to express criticism of their leaders (papal and secular) by means of rhymes and witticisms. The abbot’s colleagues were called Madama Lucrezia, Il Babuino, Il Facchino and Marforio.
Even nowadays the statue still tends to be covered with notes making fun of the city’s and country’s notables.