■ 19 August 2011 by James Martin
Certainly by now you know of Massa Marittima’s famous Phallus Tree. It’s part of the Fonti dell’Abbondanza, the Fountain of Abundance.
The phallus tree is a medieval depiction of a tree that seems to spout phalluses—along with all the associated bits would make one functional in “real life.” Those other bits were recently the subject of a bit of bickering by “experts and connoisseurs” according to an article in Corriere della Sera.
The just completed three-year restoration of the 1265 fresco seems to have trimmed the size of some testicles, some even appearing to have disappeared altogether, according to experts. A “castration” of the art, according to the article.
I mention all this because living in a puritanical culture brings out the desire to see things that would be hidden from view by a society that believes that knowledge can hurt them badly. But here at Wandering Italy we are bold. We know that now that you know the truth you are hooked. You want to go to Massa Marittima and see these dangerous shrunken testicles yourself, do you not? (You will go while your womenfolk are shopping, won’t you?)
So I have compiled some interesting things for you to do on your little secret excursion to Massa Marittima. First off, you’ll want to know that there’s a whole substructure that was created to make sure the Fountain of Abundance was always abundantly supplied with water—tunnels, wells, stalactites, those kinds of things. And you can visit them with the proper authorization and equipment. See: Fonti dell’Abbondanza Tunnel.
Kyle Phillips has a good article on a walk through the city that includes the Palazzo dell’Abbondanza and the fountain: Massa Marittima, La Cucina Ebraica, Rice & More
Casina di Rosa has a nice article on visiting the area as well: Massa Marittima and the Metalliferous Hills
And of course, if you’re too darn lazy to go there yourself and just want to satisfy your curiosity with a lascivious collection of pixels (close-up dirty picture) and a scholarly discussion, see Got Medieval
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