Public Fountain, Building and Fresco of Abbondanza

[8] The building, with three large arches, dates back to 1265, when Ildebrandino of Pisa was the Mayor, as reported in the epigraph inscribed on the facade. The public fountain was built when the miners, due to the fact that Massa was without water sources, dug a tunnel underground and found spring water about 500 meters away. A large basin collects the water that flows from the conduit in the wall of the central arch. Later the building was increased in height and a big deposit was built to be used as barn of the Republic, called Magazzino dell’Abbondanza, where the 5% of the production of wheat, that served as a reserve in case of famine or war, was stored. After the loss of its function of stock in the second half of 1700, the building became successively theater, cinema, supermarket and clothing store. Now it is property of the City and, recently, a valuable restoration has made it accessible to the public as a hall for art exhibitions and conferences. The Affresco dell’Abbondanza consists of a big fertility tree painted on the wall of public fountain. All branches of the tree are laden with fruits in the shape of a penis. At the foot of the plant there are some women: two of them are fighting over one of those fruits, while another one tries to chase the crows to preserve the precious penis from a possible assault. The eagle, symbol of Pisa and of the Emperor, could be a tribute to the Mayor in office or to the Emperor, because Massa at the time was a supporter of the Ghibellines. Under the lodge there is the bronze statue by Igor Mitoraj that at the moment, due to the restoration of the building is in front of the Town Hall.