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While browsing Wikipedia to verify what "puta" meant (as I kept hearing it in Spanish) I found this bizarre photo:

attenzione prostitute

I tried to find the address "31021 Mogliano Veneto, Province of Treviso, Italy" on Google Maps Street View, to no luck.

It has no description beyond "Sign" in the article, which makes no sense.

Is this a fake sign? A joke? Photo manipulation? What would be the purpose of such a sign? And why is it (apparently) in Italy if they were talking about Spanish words?

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    The sign is in Italian, not Spanish. – Robert Columbia Jul 9 at 23:35
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    See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Spanish_profanity#More_image_edits for lots of discussion of the images on that page. Many people feel they're irrelevant, including that one. – Nate Eldredge Jul 9 at 23:52
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    31021 is the postcode for the town of Mogliano Veneto, that is not a specific address. – fqq Jul 10 at 0:04
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    The first reference I can find for it is 2nd April 2010 in The Telegraph which suggests to me that it's an April Fool's joke that some credulous junior journalist has picked up and run with. – Arthur's Pass Jul 10 at 0:07
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    I don't know if the sign is still there, but I saw it around ten years ago (my hometown is the next town over). – Denis Nardin Jul 10 at 9:19
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These signs were real. According to Italian newspapers, they were promised (la Repubblica) and then actually installed (la tribuna di Treviso) in 2007 by the mayor of Mogliano Veneto, a town in the province of Treviso in northern Italy, as part of his fight against street prostitution.

It is not an official standard sign in Italy, and it was mostly a stunt to draw attention on the issue of street prostitution, but it seems that the mayor installed it in his official capacity.

The sign is written in Italian and does not seem to have any relation with Spanish profanities, except as a generic illustration for "prostitute". As pointed out by Nate Eldredge in the comments, the wiki talk page indicates that the use of pictures in that article is controversial.

The Wikipedia file page includes the exact coordinates where the picture was taken. Google streetview shows indeed the exact place where it was installed, but it is no longer there. I could not find specific information on its removal, although this article suggests without much detail that the regional council of Veneto was against prostitution-related street signs.

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    His fight against street prostitution? Did Signor Azollini not realize that businesses typically want signage, as it increases traffic and ultimately profits? – Malvolio Jul 12 at 8:19
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I'd suggest that this street post on Google Maps is actually the lamp-post to which the sign was affixed, due to the tree shapes and traffic signal gantry in the original photo. For balance its only 100 metres further north along the same road.

I stayed in the area whilst working on a nearby cinema complex for 6 weeks in spring 2000, and can confirm prostitution was widely prevalent then.

Irrespective of this, its a beautiful part of the world, and well worth a visit imo.

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  • @Make42 But how is it relevant to any of the questions in the actual question? – pipe Jul 11 at 5:25
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    @pipe: Well, to be honest, I guess you have a point: I was swept away by my excitement to have found the post the sign was on in the internet. – Make42 Jul 11 at 9:40
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Here is where it looks like a sign was ca. 2010. This second photo from here helps place it more accurately in relation to the tree and the erstwhile Shell station (now a 'Q8 Easy' station):

enter image description here

OP's photo is taken from a pretty tortured perspective, consider how high the streetlamps are in relation to the signs at eye level, and I think the streetlamp pole is hidden behind the sign pole. They then distorted the photo to make the sign look more true. As @MichaelRichardson points out, there is no traffic signal (as in visible in the original photo) in close proximity so perhaps there was more than one sign or one sign that was placed in multiple locations.

Anyway, the sign is not present in the 2008 or 2011 photos so it appears this ended up being a temporary installation to draw attention to a perceived problem.

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    Isn't it more likely that there were multiple copies of the sign installed? I can't see how the backgrounds can be matched at all. A traffic light is not present in your picture and the large tree immediately behind the sign in your picture does not exist in the original. – Michael Richardson Jul 10 at 20:50
  • Good point, revised. – Spehro Pefhany Jul 10 at 21:01

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