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An Umbrian Madonnina


[image ALT: Against a backdrop of meadow and rocky hill, a stone house, about one meter wide and one and a half meters tall, on a proportionate stone base; in front of it, a vase of flowers and several planters of herbs. It is a roadside shrine, or madonnina, at the entrance to the hamlet of Castagnola, Umbria (central Italy).]

Shrine to the Virgin Mary at the entrance to Castagnola on the road from Giano; designed by Carlo Bassetta, an inhabitant of the town. Late 20c.

Roadside shrines are an omnipresent part of the landscape of central Italy, whether they greet the traveler approaching some little town, as here, or mark a crossroads, or stand at some place as a witness to a local event or a landowner's piety.

[image ALT: A bit of stone wall with a sort of window, containing a tiled image and framed in wrought iron. Over the little window, a wooden sign reading 'Ave Maria'. It is a detail of the roadside shrine to the Madonna at the entrance to Castagnola di Giano, Umbria (central Italy).]

The flowers, as almost always in Umbria, are fresh.

Very often, it is the Madonna who is honored like this, and therefore in Umbria at least, madonnina, "little madonna", is a common generic term for a roadside shrine.


[image ALT: An image, painted on tiles, of the Virgin Mary, haloed and crowned, blessing a kneeling figure. She is accompanied by a haloed angel, and above her Christ in majesty flanked by groups of angels. It is a detail of the roadside shrine to the Madonna at the entrance to Castagnola di Giano, Umbria (central Italy).]

The Virgin blesses a priest — maybe St. Nicholas of Tolentino — as Christ and his angels look on. (The glass protecting the tiles reflects the Umbrian landscape to the west; as well as a bit of camera body and three of my fingers.)


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Page updated: 7 Feb 07