ROMAN SACRED IMAGES

Posted on gen 4, 2012

ROMAN SACRED IMAGESWalking around Rome’s city centre is possible to admire many sacred images, most of them representing the Madonna of perpetual help, are located by buildings corners and named by the Romans “Madonnelle” little Madonnas. Probably their origin comes from a very ancient pagan worship, since the VII century B.C. shrines dedicated to the “Lari”, household gods, were located by street corners as a form of protection.
At the beginning of the IV century A.D. the pagan idols were replaced with christian ones, mostly dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Originally located only outside the city walls, by the streets covered by pilgrims, later this images were also located all around the 22 Rome’s districts. According by a census of 1994 there are 637 shrines, but in 18 hundred were more than the double. always realized by unknown artists with different techniques, from the fresco to the mosaic or terra cotta, always lighted and with votive inscriptions to help Rome against floods of the Tiber river or epidemic and vandalism.
There are many anecdotes related to this sacred images, the most famous one is that in 1796, 36 “Madonnelle” in the some day moved their eyes.