In Via Padre Cristoforo Chiantini, San Sano 53013 Gaiole in Chianti you will find a curious statue of a frog gulping down wine. Even more curiously, the statue owes its existence to a television programme.
In the 1967 programme Tappabuchi, a word that might be translated as “stopgap”, the presenter Corrado offered prizes for contestants who could dance, sing, recite poems or even imitate animals. One contestant from San Sano, Ferdinando Anichini, said that he was going to imitate the croaking of a frog “because all of us who live around Gaiole are nicknamed ‘frogs’ due to the large number of them to be found along the banks of the Masellane.”
However, his attempted imitation did not go as planned, and Corrado said it was impossible to recognise it as the croaking of a frog. Unabashed, the contestant defended himself saying: “Our frogs sound like that because they drink Chianti…” After having said the name ‘Chianti’ four times on national television – in an era when such types of promotion were still unknown – Ferdinando went home with a total of 200,000 lire, using the prize money to raise this frog statue.
The astonishing sculpture of the frog gulping down wine and spewing forth water is the work of Siena-born sculpture Plinio Tammaro. Every year, San Sano now has a week of cultural and artistic events that goes under the name of La Rana d’Oro [The Golden Frog].
So next time you are in Tuscany, take a trip to Gaiole and see this fabulous statue – and have a glass of Chianti in celebration!!
(Adapted from Secret Tuscany by Carlo Caselli, published by JonGlez)