Madonnelle, miniature Madonnas
Rome is breathtaking, but the added decorative bonus of mini devotions to the Virgin Mary, found on many street corners, are definitely the icing on the cake. A free en-plain-air museum of minor arts that you should not miss when visiting the capital. All you need to do is to lift your eyes and look for them at the corner of most streets in the city centre.
‘Madonnelle’ have been said to perform miracles, or at least, were a ‘a must design’, 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 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
The most common miracles performed by Madonnelle included weeping, bleeding, movements of the eyes. One of the earliest ever recorded miracles took place in 1577. The Madonna of the Lantern, at the base of a church on the Tiber Island, managed to remain lit during a flood, and even continued to burn underwater.
Three hundred years of bad weather, the Madonnelle are a little bit worse for wear. But, three hundred years ago, walking home after a long day at work, through Rome’s dirty streets, an oil-lamp illuminating a glowing Madonna would have worked like magic!
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