Mondovì Breo, an Automation and a Dolphin
Mondovì Breo, the Church of San Pietro e Paolo
In the Breo district of Mondovì the Church of Saints Peter and Paul stands on the square named after them. The baroque façade of the church is a distinguishing feature in Mondovì, above all because of the automation installed above it in 1798, a mechanical moor which strikes the hours under a metal canopy. It became the main mask for the Town Carnival, a long-standing and famous tradition. The façade of the church is adorned with a fresco showing Saint Peter chasing away Simon Magus. The monumental staircase, made of Verzino marble from the nearby town of Frabosa, was built by Giuseppe Quadrone and completed in the early 20th century. (Pope Pius VII stopped here during his exile.) The interior of the church consists of two naves with side chapels, and contains preserved paintings and sculptures from the 17th and 18th centuries. In the middle of the square in front of the church (where the fish market once took place) stands the interesting dolphin statue. It was sculpted and erected by Gioacchino Sciolli at the end of the 19th century, but later removed. Legend has it that the dolphin’s threatening appearance led to spontaneous miscarriages in pregnant women. Thanks to the sculptor Giulio Avagnina, who made a copy of the lost original, the dolphin returned to its original place in the late 1980s.
Mondovì Breo, the children’s fountain
If you go downhill from Piazza Santi Pietro e Paolo and cross Piazza Cesare Battisti, on whose benches the locals like to linger, you get to the center of Breo. This is where Corso Statuto and Piazza Ellero meet. The former railway station forms the background. In the middle of the roundabout is the “children’s fountain”, whose official name in the local Piemontese dialect is “La goj d’esse a Mondvì” (The joy of being in Mondovì). The well-known artist Sergio Unia, originating from Mondovì, created the ringlets. The children are shown dancing in a festive circle, amidst the fountain’s fanciful water games. This fountain is so familiar to the people of Mondovì that it has become a symbol of the town.