A Bronze Boar that Brings You Back

High School Study Abroad Summer Programs in Florence, Italy - Il Porcellino

Will Joe get his wish? We hope so!

In Florence, the hot summer sun peeks through the openings between historic brick towers. As it shines the streets light up; cobblestones glisten like emeralds along the path.  Busy streets are filled with elegant people, gracefully gliding to their destinations. Just past the pillars, a well-informed guide points left then right, here then there.  She stops as she points to a unique statue in Mercato Nuovo.  A bronze pig.   She says, “Questo è Il Porcellino.”

The famous Bronze Boar of Florence sits proudly in the busy marketplace.  Though the original statue is now on display in a museum, the masses flock to this replica because of its supposed magical abilities.

Florence is such a unique city that people naturally want to experience its beauty over and over again.  And according to local lore, this statue has the power to make that happen. Like a genie in a lamp, the legend says that rubbing the pig’s snout will ensure that the visitor returns to this enchanted city.  As you can imagine, so many have desired to go back that the boar’s once-bronze snout is now worn down to a golden sheen.

But the pig’s powers don’t stop there, for he has another way of granting wishes.  Patiently waiting in line, visitors dig in their pockets for loose change (pennies and dimes are said to work best). The mouth of Il Porcellino is open, as if speaking back to each and every dreamer who presents themselves to him. Hopeful travelers put a coin into the mouth and a make a wish. Then, like so many have done before, they let the coin slide down the bronze tongue towards the grate below. If the coin falls into the grate, it is said that the wish will come true. If it doesn’t … the wish is lost.  But never fear: if your wish isn’t granted the first time, you are welcome to try again!

This post was contributed by Joe Lucero, who studied with us in Florence, Italy.

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  1. Very interesting story, thank you for sharing!

  2. PatrickAspire says

    Thanks Deb! We have more posts on local myths and legends planned for the future, so check back with us soon 🙂

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