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Madonna Barcarola

Madonna Barcarola

I was SO excited when I stumbled across this shrine. I’d seen a photo of it in “I Capitelli di Venezia” and knew it was somewhere in the hospital complex but had no idea where. What a great shrine. It’s modern, of course, dated 1983, and is an image of the Madonna Barcarola who protects boatmen and sailors under her mantle, according to the Capitelli book, which makes her a relative of the Madonna della Misericordia, I guess?

The book doesn’t identify the artist but does say that it’s a fresco. It almost looks like it was done with colored chalk by a precocious child. It's just so funky - I love it!

Madonna Barcarola

There are words on the wall next to the shrine. Barcarola is a Venetian folk song sung by gondoliers; according to Wikipedia: “characterized by a rhythm reminiscent of the gondolier's stroke, almost invariably a moderate tempo 6/8 meter.”

Maybe these are lyrics to one of these folk songs. I ran it through Google translate but couldn’t get a complete English version probably because it’s Venetian dialect. I'll put it here in case anyone who knows Venetian comes along. :)

Madona Barcarola
Che L'onda Frola...
Madona...Madona Barcarola
Col to Sial Straca La Bora,
Co Le to Bele Man
Caressa El Bogio De Mar.
Va Barcheta...Va,
Ch'el Marubio Te Stara' Lontan.

23 de Maio 1983


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Comments (8)

Oh, isn't that too cool! I wonder what the numbers/letters (I can make out 17A and then 17) signify? Oh, Venice more mysteries.

Maybe Nan will have a contact to tell us what it all means.


I love its naivety but I do think she looks a bit crossed-eyed!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Annie, I like this modern shrine and what this Madonna represents. Interesting to learn about the folk song. Would be fun to hear how it goes too.

Thank you for sharing your photos and the interesting background. I'm so glad you found it.


What an unusual shrine, I love the curves....it reminds me somehow of Pacific Northwest First Nations carvings!

The iconography is interesting, cradling boats instead of the Baby Jesus!

It's quite interesting that the artist includes the gondola, paddle, and sailboat. Quite different from the other shrines makes this one a standout! Thanks for sharing another interesting post on Venice.

Thanks for your comments everyone.

Yvonne, I think the thing with the numbers on it is a bricola.

Andrew, LOL.

Kathy, I'd love to hear the song or know what the lyrics say. I know it's something about the sea.

Sandra, I can see the First Nation comparison...maybe First Nation crossed with a teenage Picasso. :)

M, yes it's a stand-out...there's not another one quite like it as far as I know. :)

Donna in SF:

I love this Madonna! If you go to You Tube and search for Barcarola Veneziana, you will find quite a few to watch and listen. What a beautiful song!

Donna, thanks so much! I'll check it out when I get home from work. :)

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 11, 2011 9:59 AM.

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