After a severe drought hit the city of Treviso in 1559, the mayor of the Republic of Venice ordered the construction of a marble fountain depicting a topless woman squeezing her breasts. The final result was no ordinary statue.
Every autumn, when a new Podestà (mayor) was elected, the fountain flowed with celebratory free wine. Red wine streamed from one of the woman’s breasts while white wine poured from the other. The torrent of free tipples lasted for three days, and the yearly tradition continued up until the fall of the Venetian Republic.
The original statue, which was placed inside the Praetorian Palace, was damaged when the Napoleonic soldiers entered the city and shot at it because they viewed it as a symbol of the local rulers’ power. The fountain then went missing and remained lost until the end of the 19th century.
A new version of the fountain was built in 1989. Sadly, it’s now water and not wine that flows from the statue’s breasts. The broken original version can be found safe within a glass case in the nearby Loggia dei Cavalieri.
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