The Tower of the Monkey, Rome
Rome is full of secrets and we will be bringing you a special series of hidden goodies and the most interesting nooks and crannies of the city. One of the things we love most about the Eternal City are the shrines to the Virgin Mary, found on many street corners. All you need to do is to lift your eyes and look for them, as they tend to be high up on the facades of buildings.
‘Madonnelle’, meaning lots of mini madonnas, are said to have performed miracles, and some are made to celebrate miraculous events, which, in Rome, is more ‘everyday’ than once in a blue moon, meaning that Rome is blessed with a multitude of miraculous Madonnelle.
Where are the most beautiful Madonnelle in Rome?
Above: 1: Madonna, Via dei Coronari, 2: Madonna, Via del Gesu, 3: Madonna di Palazzo Grazioli
Madonna of the monkey
Between via dei Portoghesi and via dei Pianellari, a stones throw from piazza Navona, is the Frangipane’s tower, better known as “The Tower of the monkey”.
Centuries ago a family lived in the tower, who bought a pet monkey named Hilda. Hilda became a loved family pet and was permitted to roam freely around the house. When a new arrival came in the form on a baby, the monkey was kept away from the child. But, as people know, intelligent monkeys love to mimic and watch everything their owners do, so Hilda innocently mimicked the child’s mother changing the baby’s nappy. One day, when the mothers back was turned for one minute, Hilda thought it might be fun to climb out of the window and to the top of the tower, with Hilda in her arms, to change her nappy. In despair at seeing their son suspended at the top edge of the tower in the monkey’s hands, the parents called upon the Virgin Mary, swearing that, if their baby was returned safely, they would build a statue of her at the point on the tower where Hilda held the baby, for gratitude to Her, with a forever lit lamp.
Have you got a favourite Madonnella in Italy?