The story of the quirk rocks statues in San Pietro di Barbozza

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Some of you who visited the prosecco area North of Treviso may have noticed along the road some peculiar rock statues in San Pietro di Barbozza. They consist of polished pebbles and rocks and they represent human figures. I bumped into them a couple of times by total chance.

rock statues in San Pietro di Barbozza
rock statues in San Pietro di Barbozza

The story of the rock statues in San Pietro di Barbozza

I made some inquiry and I was able to discover who’s the author. He’s Angelo Favero, a former construction worker from San Pietro di Barbozza (near Valdobbiadene), born in 1945. But everyone here calls him Zoe.

After his retirement, he started collecting and sculpting rocks from the Piave river, transforming them into strange figures similar to men. He calls them putinòt. And considers them citizens of the Universe or soldiers of the Great War. But for the locals, they are Zoe’s rocks.

Sassi di Zoe a San Pietro di Barbozza
Sassi di Zoe a San Pietro di Barbozza

Piave river is the Sacred River of the Homeland for us Italians. It was, in fact, the frontline of World War I. The area is so beautiful that you wouldn’t think it is possible to fight here. Yet, thousands of young boys have died here.

Where to see them

You can see the putinòts in the square of San Pietro di Barbozza (one outside the corner café, some at the fountain in front of the church and others on the facade of Zoe’s house, at the end of the square, after the fountain). But above all, you will find dozens along via della Cima, just below the village.

Me with the putinots
Me with the putinots

Here is the place where the Alcazar is located. It is actually a shack, but Zoe called it Alcazar, “fortress” (in Arabic). 😀 Here I saw dozens of rock statues of different sizes and appearances, standing like sentinels. They’re so cute! Unfortunately, I didn’t meet the author. I also ventured towards the Alcazar (watch out for the beehives!). Around the corner, among the vines, there’s a workstation with pebbles of every size, tools and a paper: an ode to the Stone.

Alcazar di Zoe
Alcazar di Zoe

This is exactly one of the quirk things I love finding when I travel. Those unique, bizarre places, that make me smile. But I was also moved, especially when I spotted one putinot with the writing “Di che reggimento siete, fratelli?”.

Di che reggimento siete, fratelli?
Di che reggimento siete, fratelli?

This is the verse of a poem by Giuseppe Ungaretti, entitled Brothers and dedicated to the soldiers and focused on the brotherhood of men in suffering.

Fratelli

Di che reggimento siete
fratelli?

Parola tremante
nella notte

Foglia appena nata

Nell’aria spasimante
involontaria rivolta
dell’uomo presente alla sua
Fragilità

Fratelli

Brothers

What regiment d’you belong to
brothers?

Word shaking
in the night

Leaf barely born

In the simmering air
involuntary revolt
of the man present at his
Brittleness

Brothers

Putinot, Zoe's rocks
Putinot, Zoe’s rocks

Alcazar map

If you want to learn more about the prosecco production area, go to my post about Prosecco Superiore!