Piazza del Grano (Grain Square) and Podesta’ Palace
In 1470, the Republic of Siena financed the realization of this candid fountain, located in the ancient square known as “Market Square” since it was here that the rich markets took place.
The fountain was commissioned to the sculptor Antonio Ghini, who had also realized a magnificent holy water font for the church of the monastery of Saint Francis, now hosted in Palace Corboli Museum.
The fountain presents a quadrilobal tub (four semicircles set as a cross and separated by regular angles), typical of Gothic art and architecture. On the external sides of the fountain allegories of civil living are sculpted , for example, the symbol of harmony, represented by two crossed arms, perseverance sculpted in the shape of a snail, whereas abundance is sculpted as a cornucopia.
Another bas relief, represented by two tongues strangled by two sticks and the writing “back biting” symbolizes evil speaking. Among these decorations, the portrait of a young woman stands out. She’s been recognized as Francesca, daughter of Bartolomeo Benassi, who had been charged by the Concistory of Siena to build the fountain.
On the top part, decorated with plant and marine elements, is engraved the name of the author, Antonio Ghini, and the year when it was realized.
The code of arms of Asciano (a paw that clutches an ax), that of the Family Vieri di Nanni, at the time podesta’ of Asciano (the code of arms with three small swords) and that of the Family Andrea Capacci (the code of arms with a wild boar), treasurer of Siena in 1471, maximum representative of the Sienese Republic and sponsor of the fountain.
The Sienese she wolf should have beeen placed on top, it’s probably the same one that is now hosted in Palace Corboli Museum.
Francesco Giorni, Luciano Francini
Piazza del Grano, Asciano (Siena).
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