There is a medieval tower in Via dei Portoghesi, which is crowned with an image of the Madonna and Child. The tower, which is part of the Palazzo Scapucci, is known as the Torre della Scimmia (Tower of the Monkey), on account of a rather strange tale.
The Scapucci family owned a pet monkey and one day it stole a new-born baby from its crib, climbing to the top of the tower with the hapless infant.
The distraught family fervently prayed to the Madonna and the monkey returned the baby to the arms of its mother. In thanks, the Scapucci had a marble statue of the Virgin and Child placed at the top of the tower. A lamp, which was to be lit in perpetuity, was also erected on the tower.
The tale is recounted by the American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64) in his book The Marble Faun (1860).
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian, writer and guide