Magic Scacciaguai on Tap

In nearly every village we visited in Garfagnana, Northern Tuscany, we found community water fountains. Many of them displayed heads of fantastic figures described locally as scacciaguai, benign demons that keep evil away. In a previous post, I explored the magical meaning of these symbolic figures that appeared on hearths, at significant places on pathways, carved on animal yokes, and at these community water sources.

One of the scacciaguai, a demon-like figure with pointed ears, appears on the Colognora water fountain we discovered in 2014.

colognora_water_fountain2

Two years later, we returned to Garfagnana resumed the scacciaguai hunt. In a fountain house in a deconsecrated Francescan monastery near Pieve Fosciana, we discovered this moss-bearded chap.
aifrati_old_scacciaguai

The figure is a bit worn, but in a close-up view you can see traces of boar-like tusks (or moustache?) and small pointy ears.

aifrati_old_scacciaguai_closeup

And an elegant fountain at the town of Coreglia Antelminelli, located immediately in front of the Church of San Martino, had a scacciaguai. It dated to 1826. More demons are carved into the surround.

coreglia_1826_scacciaguai

But, the most elegant of the scacciaguai guarded the brass tap.

coreglia_scacciaguai_closeup

In that previous post, I speculated that scacciaguai appeared alongside Christian symbols. The Colognora village water fountain has a terracotta plaque of an angel above the demonic figure, and both the Pieve Fosciana and Coreglia Antelminelli scacciaguai figures are found in or adjacent to sacred spaces. Water was too vital a resource to leave unprotected.

Magic: The Daily Post’s Weeky Photo Challenge.

Advertisements

14 comments

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s