Sunday, October 17, 2010


Chicken pitchers are often given for housewarming gifts - to ensure safety from trepass and other dangers.  A friend in Spain had several,  one in a tuxedo.  I liked the tuxedo'd one so much, I have been looking for one for myself since DH and I moved back to Sicily.  Had a blue pitcher from our previous time in Sicily ... but the tuxedo'd chicken just had a lot of charm.   Finally found one a few days ago while DH and I were up in Naples to attend an International Bazaar at the Joint Services Base.  Hooray!  Both of mine are about 8" tall .. but you can get them from just a few inches tall to over a foot-tall. 

 The legend behind the pitcher - is it true or merely legend?  No one knows - but why tempt fate?

There were two wealthy families in the Republic of Florence in the early Renaissance period who were rivals for power. The Medici family held the power, but the Pazzi family wanted to grab it by killing the Medicis.

The Medicis, who had amassed their wealth by making peasants work their large land holdings, occasionally threw festivals for the peasants. Giuliano Medici especially liked the parties. So the Pazzis had someone suggest to Giuliano that he hold a festival in a village where one had never been held before.

The Pazzis then plotted to kill Giuliano and his guards at the end of the festival because they would be vulnerable from having drunk copious amounts of wine.

The Pazzis hired assassins, who probably would have succeeded except they had to sneak across a chicken yard to get to Giuliano. The chickens cackled in such a frenzy that it woke Giuliano and his guards, who caught and killed the assassins.

Giuliano was so excited that the chickens had warned him that he threw another festival the next night. He ordered artisans to create ceramic copies of chickens to be used as wine pitchers. Then he gave them to the peasants for good luck.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Thank you for posting the legend. My sister brought me back one of these when her husband was stationed in Naples several years ago. I didn't now there was a 'legend' behind it. I'm printing this out and scrapbooking it in my journal with a picture of the pitcher :-)

Mine has a yellow face, red comb, green handle and a coastal village scene on one side an Napoli scripted on the other.