Roast pork statue in Rome leads to animal rights protests

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Salvatore Tedesco, a graduate of Milan’s Bocconi University who looked through the statue with two friends, said he wasn’t a fan. “We just commented on how beautiful each building is – how Rome is full of history and culture.” the statue was a thorn in the side, he said.

His schoolmate in Bocconi, Calogero Rallo, who now works in Luxembourg, disagreed, saying the statue was an ironic statement about tradition. “Everyone loves Porchetta, so it is right that it should be immortalized in stone like Emperor Augustus,” he said. “A Roman institution deserves a statue.”

Porchetta is actually more typical of the Castelli Romani, cities like Ariccia and Marino southeast of Rome. Several passers-by said the statue would find a better home there.

“The bus to Ariccia is waiting,” joked a retired insurance salesman, Giuseppe, who refused to give his last name. But he got nostalgic when he remembered how pork survived his family of eleven many winters when he was a child in the highlands of Sardinia. The annual slaughter of a pig is almost a ritual, he said, adding, “There was respect for the animal.”

Last but not least, the statue has sparked public debate about what contemporary art should do, said Giulia Urso, the local councilor who oversaw the project. As well as arguing about public art, people argue about the need to change society “towards a vegetarian and animal rights perspective,” she said.

Fabio Mongelli, director of RUFA, said that both staff and students were frustrated that the Porchetta polemic had dwarfed the project’s other works and its overall theme, and captured snippets of Rome’s rich identity. The 13 students involved in the project worked for months, researching, among other things, the history of Rome and events in connection with the individual squares, “in order to then give their interpretation with a view to the future of the city,” he said. “It’s an act of love.”



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