Outdoor Shrines in Italy

In many places throughout Italy I found tiny “shrines” embedded into the old walls, and most of these were of the Virgin Mary.

Shrine in wall in Italy

I thought these were really interesting and wondered who had taken the time to build these into these walls. In many instances there would be flowers left there by someone.

It reminded me of the elderly gentleman who brought flowers every day to an outside shrine in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun while Diane Lane’s character watched from her window hoping for a wave. Finally at the end of the movie he tips his hat and smiles at her.

Outdoor shrine embedded in a wall in Venice

The Italians love their saints and this outdoor shrine to St Augustine is an example. This is in the village of Longano, Italy, a town nearby the village of my grandparents.

Outdoor shrine to St Augustine

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6 Responses to Outdoor Shrines in Italy

  1. Lori Samarin says:

    This post regarding outdoor shrines in Italy is near and dear to my heart. Growing up as a little girl in Italy, religion played an important role in my young life, as it did with all children: the pre-school was always with the nuns; in the public elementary school, we had Cathechism every day as part of our studies. Learning how to read and write in Italian was done by way of reading stories and writing essays that always had a moral theme running through them. By the time I had my Holy Communion at 8 yrs of age, I wanted to become a nun. I too, had my favorite saints and Madonna (yes, there are different Madonnas as well) . I was taught early on to venerate those outdoor shrines which were symbols of the Presence from above. I remember picking flowers in the fields from time to time and placing in similar shrines as those depicted in this blog, or pausing just to make the sign of the cross and say a simple prayer. A 300 yr old colonial house is still owned by my mother’s family, and they have owned it for 100 years, when they purchased it from the monks who sold it ,when they had build another residence. That house was originally a working monastery and there are 4 small outdoor shrines that are embedded on the outside of the walls of the house.

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  2. Mille grazie Lori for your personal perspective on this as someone who grew up in Italy. I loved seeing those little shrines in almost every town I visited!

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  3. Triquetra says:

    Hi Margie,
    the last pic refers to Saint Pio of Pietralcina: a Capuchin Catholic priest. He became famous for his bearing the stigmata. 😉

    (I love reading about my country through your eyes!)

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  4. Mille grazie Triquetra for your input on this! And thank you for following me on my blog. We share the same passion for your country!

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  5. SR says:

    Thank you so much for sharing these. I really enjoyed. God Bless, SR

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  6. Bonnie D. says:

    This reminded me of . . . Miami!. The only private school in town back in the 40’s was the Catholic schools. Miami was very Catholic and while that changed for awhile in the 60’s, the influx of Cubans moved the dial back to very Catholic again. The Virgin’s statues are everywhere and always the priest comes out to bless the site and make it consecrated ground. In this area we have many Mexicans and many Virgins in the yards. They always have flowers on them and sometimes they are in the middle of a garden. Certain times of the year you cannot see the virgin for the flowers and offerings. No matter how the secular humanists try, they cannot take God and his Holy Family away from believers. And in another thousand years the crumbling remains will still be surrounded by flowers and the prayers of those who believe.

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