the Medieval Springs and the Fertility Tree

Palazzo dell'Abbondanza

Palazzo dell'Abbondanza

Le fonti dell’Abbondanza, literally The Abundance Springs, used to be the ancient water source of Massa Marittima in medieval times. The building was built up in 1265 by the will of Ildibrando from Pisa, the lord Podest ruling Massa Marittima in that period. The building consists of three wide pointed arches, each one of them facing a square-based pool once used to collect water.

The building could be of two main uses: it wasn’t just the public water source, but the upper floor (added in the XV century) was also employed as a warehouse for cereals.

But its distinctive trait is without doubt the extremely modern and at the same time profane fresco brought back to light on the left façade only a few years ago named “Albero della Fecondità”, The Fertility Tree. The other two inner walls were originally painted too but the restoration works could only discover traces of frescoes. The peculiarity of this masterpiece lies in its subject: a huge tree in the background, from whose branches lots of penis-shaped fruits are hanging, while at its bottom a crowd of women are fighting each other in order to obtain the fruits. The fresco has to be interpreted as a hymn to life.

Nowadays the pools are empty, in order to better preserve the fresco, and the upper floor hosts art exhibitions, conferences and cinema projections.

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