One of the talking statues
From the XVII century, the growing custom of writing satires on politic events in the vernacular, and hanging them on the Eternal City's statues, earned these statues the appellation of talking statues. The first and most famous is Pasquino, later flanked by l'Abate Luigi(Luigi the Abbot), il Babuino(the Baboon), Madama Lucrezia, il Facchino(the Bearer), and il Marforio.
The statue itself is located on Piazza Pasquino by the Palazzo Braschi, a few meters from the possibly more famous Piazza Navona. It is a mutilated statuary group representing Menelao holding Patroclo's dead body, copy of a bronze original of which various replicas are known (a complete copy exists in Florence in the Loggia dei Lanzi) possibly sculpted by Antigonos from Pergamo(240-230 b.C.), and earlier known as 'Herakles fights the Centaurs' or 'Aiax and Achilles'.
The statue, possibly originally part of the decoration of the Stadium of Domitianus, was recovered by the via della Cuccagna corner near Piazza Navona during street paving work and was placed in the ancient piazza Parione, later to take the name Pasquino, in the year 1501 by Cardinal Oliviero Carafa.
It was admired by such sculptors as Michelangelo and, later, Bernini, who took inspiration from it in his work on his Moor and Abacuc.
There are various theories about the origins of the name 'Mastro' Pasquino, which could have been the name of some artisan working in that neighborhood.
During the S:t Mark festivities (25 of April), the statue was traditionally clad in the likeness of the divinities Venus or Janus, and epigrams written during academic competitions held in the square would be affixed to it.
To this day, the statue is used this way by 'the people of Rome' to vent discontent in verses or prose. These writing are called Pasquinate.
sources: believed to be in the public domain. My translation and adaptation.