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A Pillar in the Wilderness

[image ALT: A thin square stone pillar, about 5 m high, surmounted by a small niche domed and crowned with a metal cross. The pillar stands on much larger low stone base or platform. It is a wayside shrine in Castelfranco di Pietralunga, Umbria (central Italy), not far from the church of S. Felice.]

If you walk from the small ruined church of S. Felice to the much larger church of the Madonna delle Grazie — still in use today as the principal church of Castelfranco — along the old medieval or Roman road, now a mere path, thru an area of scrub and low forest, you will come across this sturdy wayside shrine.

The edicola, to give it its Italian name, lives up to the derivation of the word more than many wayside shrines: it really is a little building. In a very sparsely inhabited area, it's also much more remote than usual, and the niche with its statue of the Virgin — and beneath it, a much smaller crucifix — is high off the ground and hard to access: so that this was one of the few such shrines that on the day I passed by was not decorated with fresh flowers; weeks must pass without a single person to see it or stop and pray.

Over the arch, there just may be a date — 17_3? — but the best enlargement of my original photo is not enough to make it certain. Se sei della zona e/o hai delle informazioni più ampie, sarò lietissimo di sentirti!

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Page updated: 13 Nov 17