The statue of Niccolò Tommaseo (1802-74), which stands in the centre of Campo Santo Stefano, was nicknamed El Cagalibri (the book-shitter) almost as soon as it was unveiled in 1882.
The unfortunately placed books were added, not only as a reference to the intellectual qualities of Tommaseo, but also to support the marble figure. In addition to the Bible, the great journalist, linguist and editor of a multi-volume dictionary of the Italian language, is shown in the company of books by Dante and Homer.
The statue, the work of Francesco Barzaghi (1839-92), was erected in honour of the role Niccolò Tommaseo played in the short-lived Venetian Republic (1847-8).
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &
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