The Curious Luca Cava

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Curious Luca Cava


If you’re planning a holiday at any of the fantastic villas in Tuscany, then you may want to consider visiting the nearby Luca Cava. Luca Cava is a place that will certainly make some people curious. Have a think about it whilst you are walking through the charming villages of the Chianti valley! Getting to the Chianti valley from your villas in Tuscany should be fairly straightforward.

The pit’s history dates back to the late nineteenth century and it was created by the owner of a tavern located in the small village of San Gusmè, about twenty-five kilometres north of Siena. His name was Giovanni Boneci and he became tired of cleaning up the streets around his shop that were left full of excrement by the late-night diners. The landlord considered it essential to devise a solution to the problem. He decided to invent some sort of public convenience indicating a specific area where people could ‘free up’ their bodily needs. But he had a problem to be reckoned with as the citizens of San Gusmè were mostly illiterate. So after much thought he came up with the idea of building a small statue of a man intent on carrying out their physiological needs! He placed this on the designated site: now nothing could be clearer than that!

Unfortunately, in the 1930’s other areas around Italy got to know about the ‘pit.’ The inhabitant of San Gusmè were ridiculed and humiliated and so they decided to get rid of the statue and it was demolished.

In the 1970s things changed. Silvio Gigli, a well-known television director, was intrigued by the story of San Gusmè and commissioned a new statue to be built by the potter Marcello Neri. Next to it was placed sign that reads: "King, Emperor, Pope, philosopher, poet, peasant and working-class man in his daily functions. Do not laugh, you think to yourself".

Over the years it has also created a prestigious literary prize entitled “Luca Cava.”

Any holiday at villas in Tuscany would be incomplete without visiting this intriguing place.

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