Posted by: Debra Kolkka | May 29, 2013

Tie up your horse…or donkey…or cow

In some of the medieval towns in Italy I see these wonderful arrangements positioned high on the stone facades of houses. For a while I couldn’t imagine what they would be used for. I decided they must have been there to tether your horse…any other suggestions?




Some have the rings below the faces. Each face has its own character…no mass production here.






There are others that would have been for torches to light the streets at night.



I think I need a couple for Casa Debbio. Someone is bound to arrive on horseback one night for a barbecue.


  1. These are gorgeous Deb. I was wondering the streets in PG the other evening – the old ironwork protruding from the walls, thousands of years old, captivated us too.

    • I have seen lots in Siena, I love them.

  2. I am in Provence, will look to see if they are here on the medieval buildings, love the Italian ones and have taken many photos of them also.

    • I’m sure you will find them in France too, probably a different style.

  3. You are right, Debra. Most of those iron contraptions were used to tether a visitor’s horse. The one that looks like a dragon, or a griffin, seems to be able to hold a torch. You could call it street lighting…

    • I love all these little things that are still able to be seen here after hundreds of years.

  4. Love the way your mind works, Debra!

    • These things always remind me of the Ogden Nash poem.
      As I was standing in the street
      As quiet as can be,
      A great big ugly man came up
      And tied his horse to me.

  5. I think that is what the rings are for. I see them here too. But I’ve NEVER seen such ornate figureheads paired with them. These are exquisite…that last dragon is to die for. I’d like him somewhere in my house.

    • I’m sure there would be reproductions somewhere. I will have to keep an eye out for one.

  6. Wonderful set, I love them… Thank you dear Debra, love, nia

    • They are gorgeous aren’t they?

  7. How beautiful! Have never noticed any as artistic in the European towns I have visited! Would love to have one hanging on my wall 🙂

    • you can buy one for sure

      • If i could afford it 🙂

  8. Wow! I love these.

  9. How intriguing! Seems like Italian folk in those days showed a flair of making the mundane look beautiful, and why not?! There seems to be art in every turn. I love the way you keep finding items that could easily be overlooked by the general tourist on a whirlwind trip. These things can only be discovered and enjoyed at a leisurely pace, and you share that pleasure with us – lucky us!

    • I love all the details in these wonderful old streets. I am never bored here.

  10. Wonderful details. I think at Casa Debbio will look great a couple of them.
    Maoy be you can find a creative ironmaster to make those really special.

    • I know of a blacksmith. A couple of torch holders would be fun beside the barbecue.

  11. Another delicious post – oh so thankful for your watchful eye. By the way, loved the two posts your son and amour have posted on Columbia; quite special as well. And, apropos from another post about the CRAZY weather; we had such a downpour last night an urban river (The Don) overflowed and has closed some major arteries here in Toronto! Oh happy daze, oops, days. P.S. Maybe you can keep your eyes peeled in those architectual salvage places; I’m sure you like trolling them, for the likes of today’s post….if anyone ever thought to dispose of one.

    • There are a couple of places near Forte dei Marmi that sells old bits and pieces. Most are outrageously expensive. I have not seen any torch holders, but we have bought an old frog fountain and stone dish for the water to fall into. With a bit of luck they will be in place in our growing garden soon.

  12. Amazing the effort people once put into an object so functional. Beautiful.

  13. Good eye Debra, and I hope you can find some for Casa Debbio.

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