The Tuscan town of Massa Marittima has a strange claim to fame- a unique 13th century fresco depicting a tree blossoming with phalluses was found there in 2000.
The painting, which has been described by experts as ‘highly unusual in Western art,’ depicts a tree liberally decorated with penises and testes with 9 women in medieval dress waiting below the branches. One woman appears to be trying to capture or pluck one a penis from the tree.
The artwork, called the Tree of Fertility, has just undergone a 3-year restoration and the experts who lead repair efforts have been accused of censoring the erotic fresco.
Several penises have gone missing and town officials allege that restoration professionals castrated the 764-year old painting by censoring several phalluses. It appears that testicles have been removed and 25 penises painted over.
Restorers insist that any changes to the fresco were unintentional. They explained that chemicals used to remove heavy salt and calcium buildup may have lightened the artwork and inadvertently deleted some of the phalluses.
Town officials plan to file charges with the local prosecutor because the restoration effort “did not respect the original character of the work.