Want to learn more about Italy gargoyle history? Read on for an overview of Italy gargoyles in history and discover the reasons for making these unique statues…
The image of the gargoyle is associated with grotesquely carved statues that were situated on the outside of buildings to serve as an adornment for gutter lines from the roof to the lower levels. Over the course of history many different symbolic meanings have been attached to the image of the Italian gargoyle. There were basically two types of gargoyles that were set up on the roof gutters. Some were undecorated whereas others would have highly imaginative grotesque features.
In general, the term gargoyle is used to identify the grotesque carvings that were found in the buildings belonging to the medieval era. In recent years these imaginative creatures have also been featured in animation films and comics and have become a somewhat cult creature amongst contemporary neo-Gothic circles. Today the term gargoyle is also used to define one’s inclinations towards naughty behavior or evil intents. On the other hand, the term gargoyle is also used to describe something that has an ugly appearance.
Famous Gargoyles in Italy
Over the course of history Italy has been home to a wide and varied range of gargoyle statues set up on medieval style buildings. The city of Tuscany has some of the most popular gargoyle statues of the country. The small towns surrounding Tuscany also have a fair share of both undecorated as well as highly ornate gargoyle statues. Orvieto is another region where you will be able to find a number of historical gargoyle statues. This region is an ancient Hill town that falls between Rome and Florence. The town has its own medieval center that has been preserved for the purpose of maintaining it as a heritage site. Also famous for its collection of gargoyle statues is the town of Brescia, which falls within the Lombardi region of northern Italy.
Reasons for Making Gargoyle Statues
The primary reason for creating gargoyle statues was to facilitate rainwater plumbing. However, there was no need to create intricate statues merely for the purpose of draining the roof water down to the ground. Rather, the Italian had symbolic meanings attached with the image of the gargoyle. It was believed that the image of the gargoyle would ward off evil, specially the evil associated with demons. They were also meant to serve as a reminder to the parishioners regarding the hazards of evil.
Some historians suggest that the Christians actually used the gargoyle statues on Cathedral structures so that they could attract the pagan worshipers to Christianity. The ugly features of gargoyles contrasted with the beautiful interior of the large buildings upon which they were placed. This was a medieval concept of achieving a balance which is neither understood nor appreciated in contemporary times.
Upon observation of the gargoyle statues one seems to get the idea that they were actually created out of mischief. This is because some of the statues have been shown defecating and doing other acts that were not appropriate to be placed on rooftops for the public to see.