Piazza del Duomo
The Piazza del Duomo of Carrara seems definitely small and unusual, for hosting a Cathedral. It seems too narrow to accommodate the magnificence of this marble architecture and too short to not allow you to observe its rich facade of the distance you would think necessary. Yet after the first bewilderment you realize that this place has in it a charm incomprehensible, perhaps because of its ability to induce you to different conclusions, focusing your attention on the details rather than the whole.
Watch the Duomo, its decoration, its mysterious bestiary and you realize that its position has generated in the square three distinct spaces: the one in front of the facade, more intimate and meditative, almost an invitation to individual introspection, the side where it opens the main door to the church and therefore has a religious service for the entire population, and the one behind it, watching the apse, the bell tower and the old cemetery with a more public value.
At the center of the square stands the Fontana del Gigante with its peculiar history. It was realized in 1563 by sculptor Baccio Bandinelli who was working on it the Republic of Genoa, but it remained instead in Carrara unfinished, since, once received the payment, the artist interrupted the work and fled to avoid ‘arrest.
But the history of the square is linked to the name of an artist of a very different caliber! Right here stands Casa Pelliccia, the place where Michelangelo was a frequent guest during his travels to Carrara to personally choose the marble blocks from which would generate its magnificent sculptures. And like every town square in importance, even here we can find important traces of daily life that took place at that time. In the facade of a building in front of the Neptune, is in fact the little bas-relief of Modesty, a figure in the act to cover her pubis, which indicated the place where they were publicly exposed adulterous women. Or even a hook in wrought iron, beside the banner of the notary Negroni, to which was affixed a notice board with the sentences imposed by the courts and from which was generated the phrase ” essr mis al Ganc dl’Nègroni” intended as a cause for ridicule and shame.
Another story in pictures and symbols, then, that joins the much more complex and mysterious that offers you the Duomo, but that shows you how the understanding of the history, traditions and culture of a place also passes by reading the many tracks, often underestimated, that every day are under your eyes.
Source: Trame di Lunigiana