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Friday, July 23, 2010

Help in the right places: The little Marys of Italy

Italy is full of "madonnelle" - little madonnas that grace the sides of buildings and to whom various passersby pray for something personal. The photo at right is one I particularly like - and many of our blog readers know why. It's to the "little madonna of the lake" ("madonnina del lago") and asks her to "protect the motorcyclists." Particularly endearing is that the sign was put up (in 1997, says the plaque) by "Ass. Cult. Rockness" - or "Cultural [I kid you not] Association Rockness."

We've also seen them at the beginning of hiking trails, and have been glad they were providing us some protection from the elements while hiking.

One story is that the "madonelle" were the safety net of women of the night - who would go from one lit madonnella to another - praying in thanks when they got to the next light that they had made it that far. We featured an electrically lit madonella from Segni, a small town with pre-Roman origins, in an earlier blog (July 8, last year).


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