Madonelle, Madonnas of the Street

Mar 09, 2018 507


Crossroads and street corners have long been the haunt of peddlers, pickpockets and prostitutes. And as far back as ancient Roman times images of deities have been hung there to protect passers by from evil. Today over 500 statues and images of the Madonna still adorn Rome’s historic street corners, gazing down benevolently as the faithful mumble a quick prayer. But there used to be many, many more. This is the story of Rome’s Madonelle, the Madonnas of the street.

Anyone who’s ever been to the Eternal City will probably have seen at least one or two madonelle in their travels; after all you hardly have to walk far, especially in the historic center, without finding one. And chances are they’ve not given them a second glance or thought. But Rome’s madonelle hold a special place in the hearts of Romans. And they’ve been around so long that they’ve become an intrinsic part of the fabric of life. So when did they start?

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