C is for Capitelli
Capitelli is the Italian word for shrines (singular: capitello), one of my favorite things to look for and find as I wander around Venice. Actually, there are several Italian "C" words connected to shrines.
Venice was one of the first cities in the world with an organized plan to light its streets at night. In 1128, the Doge of the Venetian Republic issued a decree that oil lamps in the shrines should be lit each evening at nightfall, a Middle Ages public works project-of-sorts. Venetians called these lamps cesendeli because the small flickering flames reminded them of fireflies (cicendelae). I love to imagine seeing the city when the shrines were the main source of light.
So here are a few capitelli. A shrine is usually a niche or a tabernacle with a sacred image inside. The vast majority of the shrines in Venice are dedicated to the Madonna with San Antonio (St. Anthony) a distant second.
Some of the capitelli are small and simple like this little niche that houses a statue of San Antonio holding the baby Jesus~
Others are larger and more elaborate~
Some of them still have lights inside, electric lights now~
I love the ones with flowers~
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