The living statues of Italy

During a recent chat with a client about her itinerary, she said she definitely wanted to see the living statues in Florence.  I racked my brain, running through Florence’s famous statues in my head, thinking she must be referring to something in the Accademia Gallery or the Bargello. But I still couldn’t figure it out, so I asked her to describe them.

You know, the famous living statues!

Of course. Living. As in alive. As in actual people pretending to be statues.  As in the famous living statues of Italy.


Living statue firenze by bas lammers flickr


These “statues” are essentially buskers. They stand completely still, in costume, not blinking or even appearing to breathe, for hours. It’s not an easy job, as this article in the Guardian describes. And although I have no clue what attracts people to the job, after reading that article I’m giving them a little extra coin next time. Watch them carefully and they may wink at you. Give them money and they may pose with you for a photo.

Here’s another one in Florence (this one needs to buy an iron!).

Living statues Italy


Living statues can be seen all around Italy (and across Europe, actually), if you keep your eye out.  Here’s one in Garda, with an invisible partner:

Garda living statue by uzi yachin flickr

What about you – have you seen these living statues and if so what did you think? Are they believable and earning their money or do you just ignore them?


Photo credits from top to bottom, Bas Lammers, Friar’s BalsamUzi Yachin

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Posted by on Aug 15, 2011 in Art, Florence | 2 Comments


  1. Chris
    July 28, 2012

    I would recommend both. You could fly into Milan take the train to Venice, pick up a retanl car leaving Venice and drop it off when you arrive Rome. For visiting Florence enroute you can’t really drive in and park, most of Florence is limited to vehicles with permit only and there’s traffic cameras to catch the offenders. Best is probably staying somewhere on the outskirts of Florence along a train line and daytrip. For all the rest of traveling about the countryside in Italy is best done with a car, the roads are good, generally well marked, you won’t get lost but yes bring a good map. The Touring Club Italiano (TCI) regional maps are the best, you can order them online. Rental cars in Italy aren’t cheap, primarily because of the mandatory insurance. Many times its as much as the retanl itself. Gas is expensive though most retanl cars are very efficient. Tolls are expensive as well. Certainly driving is in no way an economical thing to do but the freedom of your own wheels outweighs cost for many.I would add that do not necessarily listen to those who tell you not to drive in Italy. It depends on the type of driver you are. I live in a major metropolitan area and am used to traffic, congestion, and people doing crazy stuff. Its no different in Italy other than the latter is practiced not just in major cities but done all over in rural areas as well. Passing up the middle with oncoming traffic and around blind corners, etc is commonplace. If you are used to driving in rural, quiet, well disciplined areas then you may find driving in Italy a frazzling experience. Its all relative.

  2. I Want for You | The Lyceum
    April 5, 2013

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