Where is the “Given To Fly statue”?

by angelina_tarantello , John Reynolds on September 21, 2006

The “Given To Fly” statue, name still unknow

The photos in the liner notes of Yield don’t ask “what are those pictures?” They ask “where are those pictures?” Along with roadside pictures of Montana and other landscapes (including a famous European cemetary), fans have always been struck by the photo of a statue against the blue sky that accompanies the lyrics to Yield‘s first single “Given To Fly.” The picture shows the upper torso of a statue shot from the ground looking up towards the sky, and the angle prevents the eye from gauging how big or small the statue is, or where in the world it is.

A popular message board topic, the location of this statue has usually been touched upon as being “in Italy” and “near the Coliseum.” Canadian PJ fan Angelina Tarantello recently went to Italy, providing a narrative with pictures of her search for this mysterious statue.

August 2006

It’s late summer in 2006 and I find myself in Italy on a family vacation to celebrate my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. Although it technically is my parents’ vacation, I had to insist on making a stop in Rome to try to find the statue in the Yield liner notes alongside the lyrics for “Given to Fly.” I heard that it was on the main road to the Coliseum and visible from most tourist buses, so I figured it would be easy to spot.

I’m with my dad (who despises when I ecstatically announce any upcoming tour and worries about how much more I plan on spending on this band) and my mom (who believes Pearl Jam is good for nothing more than the banana bread recipe in the first issue of Deep). Luckily my brother and sister came along. Although not huge fans, they still support the band and me.

After a long eight-hour flight landed in Rome, I patiently waited while the plane parked on the tarmac. I took out my phone and played a “Given To Fly” ringtone for all the passengers to hear. Although I received a rolling-of-the-eyes from my family, I couldn’t resist playing it. I didn’t care how corny it seemed, it was officially the theme song for the day.

Maps and Legends
Click below for a Google Map of where the statue is. The Via in Miranda is the small side street just off the main Via dei Fori Imperiali.

[ Map! ]

Once on foot, it was pouring rain in Rome and of course we are without an umbrella. We first stopped at a couple of popular tourist sights, then finally from the Trevi Fountain we somehow made our way down Via dei Fori Imperiali toward the Coliseum.

Heading this way, I looked and found the statue to my right. It was hard to notice at first. It is set back from the road and it looks so different from the picture in the liner notes. It’s unmistakable, however, when you’re actually standing underneath it.

We turned right down a short, narrow road called Via in Miranda. The statue is on this street at the base of the stairs of Basilica Santi Cosma e Damiano, a church that we decided not to go into since someone was getting married at the time (though we did get some weird looks when the bride and her crew were coming out as we were there drenched in the pouring rain taking pictures with what I’m sure they thought was some random statue)

The artist’s name, P.A. Martini (i.e. Arturo Martini), is engraved on the base of the statue but no year is indicated. As we walked away from the main street toward the Coliseum, I noticed a Yield sign. How fitting it was to see at the end of Via in Miranda near the statue. In the end I achieved my goal. I must say though, I think I have rubbed off on my family and deep down they must truly be Pearl Jam fans because that day, to my surprise and despite the dreary circumstances and fatigue, we all united and completed our mission to find the “Given To Fly statue”.

Good luck to those who also wish to find the statue and tread where a Pearl Jam member once did.


From Jeff’s Camera Eye

Our first glimpse of fresh new artwork for 1998′s Yield came in 1997 when the first single “Given To Fly” was released. The photo appeared to show a large statue with arms outstretched from front to back. In reality, the statue is only about ten feet tall and the hands are actually outstretched up (right hand) and down (left hand)

The color photo (top) shows the statue from the base of the statue looking up at the partly sunny sky.

The “letterbox” style artwork continued for each lyric page for Yield, this time with each photo in black and white. The photo for “Given To Fly” (middle) is slightly different as you can see from the different clouds, or it’s the same picture of the statue but just Photoshopped over a different sky. It’s also well documented that a faint “Yield” sign was blended in the statue’s body.

When in Rome, Angelina did her best (bottom) to strike Jeff’s pose, coming as close as you can get to same angle. Click to see the enlarged version, showing a plane in the sky (maybe PJ flying to Italy?)

(Click to enlarge each photo)

Here are pictures of the statue:

Approaching the basilica

The statue at the basilica’s doors

Another view of the front

The statue and nearby construction

The artist’s signature

Church sign

The statue again …

… and the statue again

The alley towards the statue

All the rusted signs…
John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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