In Barga’s Old Town Centre, walking along via di Mezzo, between the Porta Reale gate and the Differenti Theatre, you may spot a tiny sculpture of a face on the wall.
This little sculpture is peculiar and has a legend connected to it. It seems that it was built with a specific purpose: the apotropaic function that, as we had seen in the article about the inscriptions at the Cathedral that you can find here (link), means averting evil influences and bad luck.
For this reason, this sculpture is a tiny lucky charm for our city and it is a typical monument that many tourists come to visit and touch. According to the legend, putting your index finger and pinkie at the face’s eyes and your thumb on its mouth is the perfect ritual to drive away (in Italian scacciare) every trouble (in Italian guai): that’s why this sculpture is known in Italian as the Scacciaguai!
— Written and translated by Margherita Paolinelli
https://belocalitalia.com/2020/11/14/barga-un-po-di-scozia-in-garfagnana/ (last access on 14/03/2022)