Street Shrines Archives

December 13, 2007

Inside a Shrine to the Madonna

So as I said, I walked and walked and walked and took lots of photos along the way. Taking pictures of Venice is challenging; she’s just too photogenic and it’s easy to get carried away. But I did have my primary focus (churches and campanili) along with my other obsessions: cats, street shrines and tabernacles, holiday decorations, Byzantine details, fossils and floors, Madonnas, mosaics, angels, and funky monsters.

Occasionally my interests converged and it was very cool.


I found this tabernacle shrine to the Madonna inside a sotoportego in Dorsoduro. It’s a nice one and I snapped a few photos. But then I walked closer to look inside and what I saw startled me, then made me laugh.

Continue reading "Inside a Shrine to the Madonna" »

January 8, 2008

Corte de Ca' Sarasina shrine

Castello 1194

sarasinashrinedetailThis is one of the largest and most elaborate shrines I found. It’s in Castello, not far from the church of Sant’ Isepo (San Guiseppe di Castello, dedicated to St. Joseph).

I can’t find any information about its history besides a brief mention in DK’s Eyewitness Venice Top Ten guidebook which says that it’s a memorial shrine dating back to the 1600’s.

Someone certainly is taking very good care of it. Fresh paint, lots of fresh flowers, amazingly clean lace curtains and altar cloths. I wonder who takes care of shrines like this – ladies from the local church, ladies in the neighborhood, anyone who feels inspired?

Another nice detail is the old framed photo hanging on the door that shows women from the past sitting in front of that very shrine sewing or making lace perhaps.

Castello 1194

January 11, 2008

Sotoportego di Corte Nova shrine

Sotoportego Zorzi

I first visited this shrine during my 2006 trip after seeing it mentioned in Michela Scibilia’s restaurant guide (the shrine is right beside Osteria da Dante in Castello, not far from the church of San Lorenzo).

More than a shrine, it’s really like an outdoor chapel - the whole inside of the sotoportego is decorated and there’s a marble altar to the Virgin on each side.

I was very intrigued by it and wanted to know more but couldn’t find information about it anywhere. But then on my 2007 trip, I bought a great new guidebook (Paulo Giordani’s Venice) which has the story, and it’s a good one. It’s another Venetian miracle-working Madonna to add to my ever-growing list.

During the 1630 plague (the same plague that inspired the building of the Santa Maria della Salute church), a woman named Giovanna told her neighbors that their faith in the Madonna would protect them all from the plague. She painted an image of the Madonna with Saints and put it in this sotoportego, and it worked! The residents of this part of Castello remained healthy, and the locals believed that the miraculous power of the Madonna kept the plague from passing through the shrine into their neighborhood.

Locals also believe that the shrine kept their neighborhood safe from WWI bombs and every year on Nov. 21 when the city as a whole honors Santa Maria della Salute at the church, this neighborhood also honors her at this shrine. This is all recorded on this plaque above one of the entrances.

Sotoportego Zorzi

Salute e Pace

Continue reading "Sotoportego di Corte Nova shrine" »

January 18, 2008

San Antonio shrine

green shrine

This lovely green free-standing shrine is dedicated to San Antonio (St. Anthony), and it’s another very well-cared for shrine with a nice painting inside of the saint holding the Christ child. It’s in Cannaregio on the way to Madonna dell’ Orto and has a sign saying it was built in 1668. The vast majority of the shrines in Venice are dedicated to Mary, with St. Anthony a distant second. It makes sense that he’s the next most popular image since he’s a local saint who’s buried in his own church over in Padua.

san antonio


Thanks so much to Leslie for telling me about this book – Shrines: Images of Italian Worship by Frances Mayes and Steven Rothfeld. It’s a beautiful little coffee table book with photos of shrines from all over Italy. It arrived in the mail yesterday and I immediately retired to the couch with it (is there anything better than getting a new book?!). I recognized most all of the Venetian shrines pictured in the book except for another large San Antonio shrine that I’d love to find.

There’s another very cool green shrine in Venice that I haven’t seen except in photos – this one that’s out in the lagoon somewhere. Here’s another great photo of it. Just amazing.

And I also want to see this incredible Madonna and Child that Kathy (trek capri) found. Her photos of Burano are beautiful.

green shrine

February 1, 2008

Shrine with red wall

inside oratorio

In honor of Day One of the Great SlowTravel Blogging Challenge and today's theme (red), I'm posting this photo of a shrine. I have no idea where this one is in Venice - this photo somehow got separated from the ones around it that would give me a clue about where I was that day.

Most Venetian red has some orange in it, closer to terracotta. I think of the bricks and the tile roofs and the many, many churches with red and white marble floors. There are the rich rusty reds of Carpaccio, but also the jeweltone burgundies of Bellini. And of course, there's this dress, maybe the most beautiful red of all.

February 6, 2008

Shrine with ivy


This shrine is in Cannaregio, close to the church of Volto Santo and former convent of Santa Maria dei Servi. The church was closed but I was happy to find this beautiful shrine. It’s unusual to find a shrine on the verge of being engulfed by Mother Nature. I like the ivy’s autumn colors and how they match the bricks. And I love the weather-beaten image of the Madonna inside.



February 14, 2008

Hearts in Venice

Since there’s not a church in Venice dedicated to San Valentino, I'm going with a “heart” theme instead.

San Marco

This heart is on the floor of Basilica di San Marco and marks the place where the heart of Doge Francesco Erizzo is buried. His body is in the church of San Martino but his heart is here, as he requested in his will. There’s no name, just the little doge hat on top. He was doge from 1631-1646, a traumatic time in Venetian history that included 16 months of plague that killed 46,000 people, reducing the population by a third. Not many doges are buried in San Marco so I guess he must have been much loved to have his wish honored.

I read about this heart in a book, but it was many visits to San Marco before I finally stumbled across it and for some reason, it really moved me when I saw it for the first time, maybe because that church has my heart too. Anyway, if you want to see it, it’s in the high altar area to the left of the saint’s crypt.

San Felice

Another heart, this one on the floor of the church of San Felice. I assume someone’s heart is buried here too but I don’t know who.

Continue reading "Hearts in Venice" »

February 24, 2008

Fondamenta dei Mori

Fondamenta dei Mori

This Cannaregio shrine is close to Tintoretto’s house and Campo dei Mori, the campo with the four turbaned statues embedded in the walls.

As you can see, the shrine has a very reflective glass. I took about seven photos before I finally got the image of the Pieta relief inside – it looks kinda spooky and cool.

Fondamenta dei Mori

Fondamenta dei Mori

Fondamenta dei Mori

February 27, 2008

Blue Shrines

Dorsoduro 35

True confession time here….I’m a bit addicted to Google. I think of something I want to know and start looking and next thing I know, hours of my life have passed by and I’ve got all kinds of new and interesting trivia in my head. I haven’t decided if I should be worried about this or not.

Here’s an example. I was looking through my shrine photos and noticed how many of the Madonna shrines are light blue/sky blue/baby blue (we call it Carolina blue here in NC but that’s another story). Either her clothes are that shade of blue or the shrine itself or both. So I went to Google to try to find out why, and here are a few interesting things I found along the way.

Bathtub Madonna shrines

Who knew? Evidently these are very popular in the Midwest. Paint the inside of an old bathtub sky blue, bury it halfway, put a Madonna inside, and voila, a shrine for your yard.

Pink and Blue

This NY Times article about the Princess Craze says that in the early 20th century, pink was considered to be a masculine color (because it was close to red) and baby blue was a feminine color (because of its association with the Virgin). But by the 1930’s, the gender associations had switched, and pink became feminine and blue masculine. How weird is that? How and why does a change like that happen?

Why does Mary always wear light blue?

This article says that she doesn’t.

I finally found an explanation that makes sense – centuries ago, blue pigment (made from lapis lazuli) was the most precious and costly pigment in painting, and using that color was a way to honor and show devotion to her. That gave me the "a-ha" moment I was looking for so I could stop googling this topic and move into the next one.

Dorsoduro 2391

Dorsoduro 1745

Continue reading "Blue Shrines" »

March 9, 2008

Sotoportego de la Madonna

San Polo 1286

Another nice shrine with fresh paint, this one has a history that dates back over 800 years. This San Polo sotoportego is supposedly the place where Pope Alexander III slept when he arrived in Venice in 1177. He came to Venice in disguise, exiled from Rome and on the run from Emperor Frederick Barbarossa.

The Pope put a special blessing here for anyone who comes inside and prays before the shrine, according to the wooden plaque above the entrance.

San Polo 1286

There are several other legends about this pope-on-the-run. One is that he worked as a janitor for six months at the convent of La Carita before someone recognized him and helped restore him to power. He also spent the night on the portico of the church of San Salvador. Eventually, the Venetian Republic (a neutral party in the dispute) intervened and negotiated reconciliation between the two enemies, and the spot where they kissed and made up is marked with a stone on the floor of Basilica di San Marco (another floor detail to track down).

There's a little statue of the sleeping Pope inside the shrine at the bottom.

San Polo 1286

2012 Update: Check out Yvonne's recent visit to this shrine. So many mysteries!

Continue reading "Sotoportego de la Madonna" »

March 11, 2008

Shrine to John the Baptist


I love the funky frame on this shrine in Castello.

I wonder if someone had decorations left over from a wedding or baby shower and decided to honor the saint with them?

Nice image of the saint inside the shrine too.



March 26, 2008


Something about this shrine makes me think about being underwater - I guess it's that shiny blue material lining the back of the shrine. Love the wall, love the yellow flowers!

Cannaregio 920 A

Cannaregio 920 A

April 3, 2008

Shrine in campo San Basegio


A sweet little shrine in Dorsoduro. This one is in campo San Basegio, not far from the Zattere. I love the purple stone framing this shrine.

There used to be a church in this campo - San Basilio, a 9th century church dedicated to St. Basil. It's gone (demolished in 1824) but the shrine remains.

campo de san basegio

April 6, 2008

Shrine with electric light

Some of these shrines have an electric light inside which gives them a cool glow from a distance but you have to get very close in order to see who is inside. I love the brick wall with peeling stucco behind this shrine and the Byzantine Madonna inside.

Cannaregio 1763

Cannaregio 1763

Continue reading "Shrine with electric light" »

April 12, 2008


Interesting neighbors! You can find this shrine in Corte Nova in Castello, not far from Via Garibaldi.

Castello 2061 A

Castello 2061 A

April 30, 2008

Madonna and Child with St. Peter

Madonna with child giving keys to St. Peter

This beautiful marble tabernacle, showing the Madonna with Child Giving the Keys to St. Peter, is in eastern Castello on Fondamenta Quintavalle, on the way to the church of San Pietro di Castello. It’s an early 15th century work that was recently restored by the California chapter of Save Venice.

It's so wonderful seeing art outdoors as you roam around Venice, and there's actually quite a lot of it all over the city. You could make a case for moving works like this into a museum for protection, but instead, the restoration included adding lead to the roof to protect it from rain. I'm a bit sad that they finally had to move the four horses of San Marco inside, but those things are 2000 years old – it was time for them to get out of the weather, I think.


May 7, 2008

Santa Marina

Santa Marina

This beautiful shrine commemorates a demolished church that used to be in this Castello campo. Founded in 1130, the church was originally dedicated to Saints Liberal and Alexis but was rededicated to Santa Marina when her body was placed on the high altar of the church in 1231 after the Venetians stole her from Constantinople. These "pious thefts" are strange and recurring events in Venice's history; for whatever reason, stealing the body of San Marco in 828 started a trend that continued for centuries.

Santa Marina (aka Marina the Monk) is a very interesting 5th century saint from Lebanon who entered a monastery when she was very young, disguised as a boy, and no one knew she was a woman until decades later when she died and the monks were preparing her body for burial. Legend has that it was quite a shock when they discovered the truth!

During her life, she was falsely accused of fathering a child and accepted her punishment without protest and ended up raising the child who grew up to be a monk too. Marina was buried in a grotto at the monastery in Lebanon where she is still honored today, but at some point her body was stolen and taken to Constantinople, where it was later stolen again by the Venetians. She is usually depicted in art with the child who she did not father, as she is inside this shrine.

Several doges were buried in this church which had a great collection of art and was the parish church of the master Giovanni Bellini.

The church was suppressed in 1818 and for a brief time, it was a wine shop and tavern. There are funny stories about waiters and customers shouting, “a jug in the chapel of the Holy Sacrament” and such. And then the church was demolished in 1820 and private houses built on the site; the doges were moved to San Zanipolo and the relics of Santa Marina were moved to Santa Maria Formosa.

Santa Marina

Santa Marina

June 9, 2008

More beautiful bricks and a nice shrine

More beautiful Venetian bricks and a sweet little shrine with a salmon-colored Madonna inside...

salmon madonna shrine

inside salmon madonna shrine

June 17, 2008

One of my favorites

It's pretty tough to pick a favorite Madonna in a city like Venice that is home to tens of thousands of wonderful images of her, but I definitely put this one in my Top 20. She looks vaguely Byzantine and iconic, and I love the design and colors. Looks like this one is ceramic tile, perhaps.

window and shrine

Cannaregio 2319

byzantine madonna

June 23, 2008

Mary, Queen of Peace

One thing I learned during my December trip is that you can almost always find a shrine inside a sotoportego (the covered passageways that are all over Venice) or on a street named for the Madonna (and there are many of those!).

This is one in Castello in a sotoportego off Via Garibaldi, not far from the church of San Francesco di Paola. This one's very elegant with all that gold.

Thanks so much to Maria I who told me who this is in the shrine (Mary, Queen of Peace) and translated the line under "Ave Maria":

"Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis" (Queen of Peace, Pray for Us)

I love our blogging community. Thanks Maria I!

another shrine

gold madonna detail

July 10, 2008

Mosaics in shrines

Some mosaic images inside Venetian street shrines. The second one is the French saint, Therese de Lisieux, also known as the Little Flower.

mosaic madonna

mosaic saint

This one is out on the island of Murano (an old photo that I scanned in with my new scanner). I want to get a better photo of this one next trip.


July 12, 2008

PhotoHunt: Support


This week's theme is "support." In this case, I'm not talking about the shrine (though that could work too) but rather that big staple-shaped metal thing above it. You see these all over the buildings of Venice - I'm not sure what it is exactly, but I think it's some kind of support to help hold those old buildings up. I imagine someone with a very large stapler walking around Venice!

Happy weekend!


August 28, 2008

Annunciation shrine

This lovely 17th century Annunciation relief is over a door on a house next to Ponte Cavallo, the bridge in front of the church of San Zanipolo. It'd be nice to see this every time you came home.



Continue reading "Annunciation shrine" »

September 18, 2008

Shrine with mops

shrine with mops1shrine with mops2

A sweet little San Antonio shrine in a corte in Cannaregio. Love those mops to the side. This one has so many flowers!

shrine flowers

October 15, 2008

Rialto Bridge shrine

This shrine to the Madonna is at the base of the Rialto Bridge, on the San Polo side. She's a bit worse for wear but there are always lots of flowers in front of her.


Rialto Bridge madonna

Venice Explorer has photos of this Madonna (scroll down to bottom right corner) as part of the evidence for their campaign to save Venice from the effects of sulphur created by gas-powered boats. It's pretty incredible to see how much this Madonna has deteriorated since 1976.

Continue reading "Rialto Bridge shrine" »

October 20, 2008

Shrines in "Bread and Tulips"

Thanks to SandraC for the idea for this post! I rented the film "Agata e la Tempesta" after reading Sandra's review of it. Wonderful movie! I really loved it and seeing it inspired me to rent "Pane e Tulipani" (Bread and Tulips) again since it had been several years since I'd watched that one. Both films are by director Silvio Soldini, and both star the beautiful Italian actress Licia Maglietta.

Well, I know Venice better than I did the first time I saw "Bread and Tulips," and I saw two shrines in the movie that I'd taken photos of when I was in Venice last year. When I mentioned this to Sandra, she suggested that I post the photos on my blog, so here they are!

This first shrine is in the scene where Rosalba meets the plumber/detective who her husband had hired to track her down in Venice. They agreed to meet in Campo do Pozzi (campo with two wells) which is a real campo in Castello where this shrine is. It's hard to tell in my photo but the Madonna inside this shrine is the one from Titian's painting of the Assunta.

street shrine2

And then when Rosalba runs away and the bumbling "detective" tries to follow her, they go by this shrine, also in Castello.

bread and tulips shrine

Thanks to Sandra for recommending "Agata." Both of these movies are a perfect way for Italy lovers to get a fix in between trips. Sandra is currently blogging about her recent trip to Umbria and Tuscany; she has some wonderful photos and stories about many off-the-beaten-path towns and churches that she visited, so check her blog out too if you need an Italy fix!

October 31, 2008

PhotoHunt: Blue


This week's theme is "blue."

Raindrops/roses, whiskers/ satin sashes, etc.
Here are a couple of my favorite BLUE things in Venice.

Nov. 4, 2008: Make History

street shrine1


Happy Halloween, Happy Weekend, and Happy Hunting!
Find more photo hunters here.

November 14, 2008

PhotoHunt: Ruined


This week's theme is "ruin(ed)."

I've got a couple this week, a shrine in Venice and a shed in North Carolina.

This little wayside shrine in Venice looks like it's melting into the wall. It's not completely ruined but it's on its way.

San Antonio shrine

But even so, it's still serving its purpose as a devotional altar, as you can tell by the little San Antonio candle someone put in it.

San Antonio shrine detail

Continue reading "PhotoHunt: Ruined" »

January 22, 2009

Calle Stella

A fairy tale corner of Venice, this little courtyard has a charming blue shrine with flowers and lace and a colorful Madonna inside, a nice vera da pozzo with plants on top, and fluttering laundry. Pretty perfect!




February 4, 2009

La Bottega di Pinocchio


Another sweet little corte with a shrine in Venice. The sign on the door next to the shrine says "La Bottega di Pinocchio"...Pinocchio's Workshop? I see the long-nosed wooden guy hanging there, under the bell.

I'd love to know the story of this place; it was like walking into a children's book. Found this in Castello on the way to the church of San Pietro di Castello


Continue reading "La Bottega di Pinocchio" »

February 9, 2009

Shrines on Burano

I ended up spending so much time on the island of Torcello that by the time I got to Burano, there was only about an hour of daylight left. So I skipped all the shops and went on a speed walk looking for shrines to photograph before it got dark.

I recognized this one because I'd seen a photo of it in Trekcapri's Venice Rediscovered , a wonderful report from her 2007 trip to Venice. I was happy to find it because it's such an unique and photogenic shrine!



This one is tucked inside a little sotoportego. While I love shrines with these little "eternal flame" lights, they aren't easy to photograph especially when they are in a dark place. Sometimes I wish I had one of those "click on, click off" light thingys like Dumbledore had.


This one is on the side of Burano's one church, San Martino. This church has one of the many leaning towers in Venice although it looked like it had been straightened a bit since the last time I went to Burano. It's still tilting but not quite as much.


And this one is on the side of a restaurant, close to the main drag with all the shops.


While looking for shrines, I also found a large colony of cats! I'll post photos of them later.

March 5, 2009

Corte del Forno Vechio


A cool little shrine/chapel/oratory in a corte in San Marco. Built in 1815 and dedicated to Beata Vergina Assunta, it even has a bell on top.


Continue reading "Corte del Forno Vechio" »

March 11, 2009


I only learned about Orbs recently, maybe because I just got my first digital camera last year. A quick google search showed lots of Orb discussion and photos out there on the web, with people divided into two camps: those with the rational “reflection off a dust particle” explanation, and then the mystical camp (people who believe that an orb is an angel or other being from the spirit world).

Now, I don’t know what they are but it’s surely more romantic and exciting to think that they are angels. I do believe that there are unseen benevolent beings around us, and I like the idea that they might pop up in our photos from time to time. And they show up so rarely in my photos that I pay attention when they do.

So anyway, I came home from Venice last winter with two orb sightings in my photos, both of them shrines.


shrine with orbs

Continue reading "Orbs?" »

March 31, 2009

The Big Blue Shrine

There are shrines all over Venice but the sestiere with the most is definitely Castello which also has a number of very large shrines, almost chapels. This one is so obviously loved and taken care of so well. It's unique too because of what's inside.



Continue reading "The Big Blue Shrine" »

April 1, 2009

Green and Yellow Shrine

Another large and well-loved shrine in Castello, this one has three statues inside - Mary, Christ, and a nun-saint who is probably Santa Rita. This one has double doors - the wooden ones which were open and then the glass-fronted doors which were closed and locked. Love the white roses and lace curtains.

There's an old vintage black-and-white photo of this shrine inside the shrine, with the caption "Tanto Tempo Fa" ....."So Long Ago."



Continue reading "Green and Yellow Shrine" »

April 2, 2009

The Big Yellow Shrine

Next in my series of big shrines in Castello, this one has a chalet feel to it with its shingled roof and wooden doors. As I was peering inside the window of this shrine, a local resident strolled over to check me out. He/she posed for a photo and then ran over to a nearby house, jumped in the window, and went inside.




Continue reading "The Big Yellow Shrine" »

April 14, 2009

Ca' Sarasina revisited

Back to big shrines...I wrote about this one last year, and I revisited it this past December and took more photos. It's one of my very favorites.

To visit the shrine, you walk through the very charming Campiello de Ca' Sarasina. Love those flower pots on the building. You can see the open green door of the shrine on the right.



A shrine and some laundry. Doesn't get much better than this. :)


There's lots of stuff inside this shrine but the central image is a framed Byzantine-looking Black Madonna adorned with votive jewelry. She does NOT want to be photographed (I've tried twice and failed!).


Continue reading "Ca' Sarasina revisited" »

April 28, 2009

Ave Maria (shrine)

Some of the shrines in Venice are very elegant while others are more homespun. This Castello shrine is kind of a mix - there's an intriquing old relief of the Mother and Child inside but the tabernacle and its dusty silk flowers are more charming and folksy than elegant.




Continue reading "Ave Maria (shrine)" »

May 19, 2009

A few more big shrines

This one, filled with geraniums surrounding Michelangelo's Pieta, is in Cannaregio.



This is a strange one. The reliefs on the tabernacle seem to have some age on them, and that face on the wall above looks exactly like the gatekeeper in The Wizard of Oz. :)

It's very rare to see a shrine that's been vandalized but this one has a busted window. Perhaps the vandal is responsible for the lurid orange color of Baby Jesus' face? It's a bizarre image inside!




This oratorio is listed on the Patriarch of Venice website which says that it has two small rooms inside. Built in 1829 by workers from the Arsenal and dedicated to Beata Vergine Addolorato (Our Lady of Sorrows). Restored in 1995. I've never found it open. It hardly looks big enough to have two rooms.

Beata Vergine Addolorata

And this one is in Castello, in Campiello del Figareto, and it isn't on the oratory list so I guess it's a shrine and/or private chapel. There's a Madonna and Child inside that you can barely see and I couldn't photograph because it's so dark in there. The inscription says that it was built in 1842, restored in 1979. In the second photo, you can see where someone has stuck a single long-stemmed rose in the grate of the door.



May 28, 2009

Silver stars

A wall in Castello with bright blue paint and a San Antonio of Padua shrine with three silver stars painted above the shrine. One thing I've noticed about San Antonio shrines is that the saint is almost always holding Baby Jesus and sometimes, the baby is reaching up to touch his face. I don't know why but it's sweet.

Blog friend and fellow Venice lover Maria I of My Place in the Sun recently posted a few more San Antonio shrines that she found in Venice last fall. She noticed that he often has lilies around him too.

Just a note: I've been having some comment weirdness the past couple of days. If you get a message saying that your comment is undeliverable and you need to resend it, ignore it. The comments are coming through okay!




Continue reading "Silver stars" »

June 10, 2009

San Cristoforo shrine

This is Rio della Verona, the canal that runs behind the opera house La Fenice.


This large shrine is in sotoportego San Cristoforo, next to the rio. It looks so clean and new, I wonder if it was also reconstructed after the fire.


The image inside the shrine is a copy of Titian's fresco of St. Christopher that's in the Palazzo Ducale.


Continue reading "San Cristoforo shrine" »

June 18, 2009

The walls behind


Sometimes the wall behind the shrine is just as interesting as the shrine itself. This wall is ravaged but beautiful.


Here's another example ~


Continue reading "The walls behind" »

June 19, 2009

PhotoHunt: Creamy


This week's theme is "Creamy."

A couple of photos I took in Venice last year. First up is a booth at the Christmas market in campo Santo Stefano. I took this photo because of the marzipan fruit but there are some cream horns behind them.


A cream-colored statue of the Madonna inside a little street shrine.


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and Happy Summer Solstice!

June 30, 2009

Ponte dei Carmini

Here's a case where a bridge was named for a street shrine. The bridge, called Ponte dei Carmini, was built in 1791 and named for the adjacent shrine with an image of the Madonna del Carmine inside. The shrine is lovely but needs some attention; one side is propped up with what looks like a bed slat. This is in Castello, close to the church of San Zaccaria.




Continue reading "Ponte dei Carmini" »

July 27, 2009

Corte del Pestrin

A lovely shrine to the Madonna in a charming corte close to the church of Santa Maria Formosa. When I look at these photos, I remember how excited I was when I found this one. It's a beauty. There's a little electric light at the Madonna's feet that gives her a cool-looking glow.



A shrine and some laundry, doesn't get much better than this. And a tree!


Continue reading "Corte del Pestrin" »

August 24, 2009

A few shrines

This first one really made me smile. I call it the minimalist shrine. No flowers or decorations, just a stone cross with a money box on top. Many of the shrines of Venice have donation boxes with locks, and I've often wondered who goes around collecting money from them or even has a key that works (some of the locks look quite antique).

This particular box had a coin stuck in the slot. I tried to push it in but it was stuck tight. Perhaps the box was made for lira (or ducats!) and someone tried to put a Euro in?


This one is on the island of Murano so it's fitting that there's a glass vase on the table next to the Madonna and child.


A very ornate shrine inside sotoportego Corte Zorzi in Castello, with gold reliefs of grapes and ears of corn on the sides and an image of San Antonio inside. This tabernacle was made using materials recovered from restoration work on the pulpit of the nearby church of San Martino.


Continue reading "A few shrines" »

October 22, 2009

The Shrines of Torcello

I only found a few shrines there but wow, this first one might be my all-time fave. I'd like to copy this one for my own garden. It doesn't look like it would be too hard to build.

Torcello garden shrine

What a great use for a tree stump.


I also like this empty niche on the side of the cathedral.


Continue reading "The Shrines of Torcello" »

February 23, 2010

A Shrine with a Torcello Madonna

Back to Venice itself now, but with a Torcello connection. This incredibly beautiful and ornate shrine is in Camp San Giacomo dall' Orio, next to one of the bridges that exits the campo.


There's a small plaque next to the shrine that says that the icon inside is a copy of a statue of the Madonna con Bambino found in the church of Santa Fosca on Torcello. It's unusual for a shrine to have a sign like this. I love the blue/green marble on the sides of this tabernacle.


Continue reading "A Shrine with a Torcello Madonna" »

March 3, 2010

Madonna of Calle del Forno


There are countless images of the Madonna all over Venice, both inside churches and museums and also out on the streets, inside shrines, and on buildings. So many beautiful ones but this rustic relief of the Madonna dell’Umilta is one of my favorites. She’s tucked away on a quiet residential street in Castello, set into the wall above a door (I didn’t stumble across this one by accident; I knew to go looking for her).

This 15th century relief is unique because it’s carved from wood rather than stone. According to Alberto Rizzi (Scultura Esterna a Venezia), this Madonna was most likely inside a shrine, but today the tabernacle is gone and only the icon remains.

She’s showing signs of age (at one time, the wood was painted but you can barely see the traces) but still, her smile is peaceful and there’s an air of serenity and joy around her. And what a fat and happy baby! He looks more like Buddha than Christ to me.

Thanks to A Lover of Venice for sharing the Rizzi info with me. And if you haven’t checked out ALoV’s website lately, please do. There are a number of new pages including the best collection of Venice links on the web, and also a “Photo of the Week” page. Walks though Santa Croce and San Polo have been added and also some amazing photos taken from a ship leaving Venice for Istanbul.


March 5, 2010

PhotoHunt: Foreign


This week's theme is "Foreign."

Some themes are tough because you've just got too many photos that would work!

No surprise that I'm going to my favorite foreign (overseas) city for this one....a street shrine in Venice. Shrines were foreign to me growing up; I'd never seen one until I went to Europe. Now they are one of my favorite things to find and photograph.

Venice shrine

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 16, 2010

Red Flowers

Shrine in Corte Lucatello, close to the church of San Zulian. I love the red flowers.

madonna shrine red flowers


There's an inscription on the alms box ~ CHI DONA AI POVERI DONA A DIO (Who gives to the poor, gives to God).

March 18, 2010

San Antonio shrine

One of many San Antonio (Sant'Antonio da Padova) shrines in Venice, this one guards a bridge in Cannaregio, the Ponte dei Ormesini. I love the little tablecloth the icon is standing on.



March 22, 2010


Last year, I wrote about a Cannaregio shrine that's on the verge of being covered over by hanging ivy. Then in a little corte close to the Arsenale, I found this one that's completely overgrown with some kind of vine. I wish I'd had some gardening shears! I couldn't see inside the shrine, so I stuck my camera through the overgrowth and snapped and was surprised by what I saw when I looked at the camera screen.


Of course, there's a Madonna inside but this is another one of those family or neighborhood memorial shrines like the big blue one in Castello. Makes me sad that it's overgrown; I guess the people who took care of this one have died or moved away.



Update: Yvonne found this shrine open; click here for a look inside.

March 26, 2010

PhotoHunt: Fresh


This week's theme is "Fresh."

A couple of photos from Venice. First up, the market close to the church of San Leonardo~


Fresh flowers on a street shrine~


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.


March 30, 2010

Corte Michiel

Castello 4593

A gorgeous shrine with an interesting connection to the history of the shrines of Venice.

This corte in Castello was the birthplace of Doge Domenico Michiel, who ruled Venice from 1118-1130. He was a medieval hero who led the Venetian fleet to victory in a number of decisive Mediterranean battles, defeating the Egyptians, taking control of Tyre, and greatly expanding Venice’s territory and trade routes.

In 1128, Doge Michiel decreed that lamps should be lit each evening in all the city’s shrines, a public works project of sorts that made Venice the first city in the world to have street lights. The decree specified that parish priests were responsible for lighting the lamps each night and that the government would pay for the oil and the lamps. How cool to think about wandering around Venice after dark with the only lights being those in the shrines.

Castello 4593

Continue reading "Corte Michiel" »

May 7, 2010

PhotoHunt: Mother


This week's theme is "Mother."

A few images of the Holy Mother taken in Venice, Italy.

A mosaic on the facade of Basilica di San Marco~


Street shrine on a pink building~

shrine in Venice

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend. Happy Mother's Day weekend to all.


May 13, 2010

A few shrines

I bet this one is sweet at night when that tiny light is on.

Madonna relief

Beautiful marble shrine


So many pink roses on this one. And it's high enough up on the building that someone had to use a ladder to put those roses there. Love the little tablecloth too.



July 23, 2010

PhotoHunt: Hanging


This week's theme is "Hanging."

We've done this theme before and it was a great fun to see what everyone came up with. Here's mine:

A street shrine hanging on a wall in Venice~


And here in North Carolina, a bird house hanging in a tree~


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend. Keep cool if you're in the midst of this heat wave.


August 4, 2010

News about a couple of shrines

Seems like there's been a rash of vandalism in Venice this year – Senor Rioba’s head, a fire that might have been arson at the church of Santa Maria dei Derelitti (Ospedaletto), and even a couple of shrines (but with happy endings though).

One of the many Venice blogs that I enjoy reading, the Alloggi Barbaria blog is unique because the author actually lives in Venice and keeps all of us far-flung Venice lovers posted about news from the city. After I read about these vandalized shrines, I checked my photos and I had visited both of them.

Ponte Tetta

This Castello shrine guards the bridge, Ponte Tetta. It’s a beautiful shrine but was very weather beaten when I saw it. The vandalism led to a complete restoration and now it looks fantastic. I can’t wait to see it in person.

The image inside this shrine is rather unusual; it’s a terracotta relief showing The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The relief was carved by Capuchin father Massimiliano Vaiente in1980.


This sweet little shrine is inside Sotoportego Del Fontego, close to campo Santa Margherita. The icon inside this one is a statue of Our Lady wearing a crown. The first post I read showed the empty shrine with crime scene tape on it, a horrible sight! Then later came the good news that the icon was found and is now safe in the sacristy of the nearby church of the Carmini. I hope that this shrine will be restored too.


Continue reading "News about a couple of shrines" »

August 27, 2010

PhotoHunt: Framed


This week's theme is "Framed."

There are hundreds of street shrines in are just a few, framed with stone.







Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 10, 2010

PhotoHunt: Anniversary


This week's theme is "Anniversary."

This Venetian shrine commemorates some kind of anniversary but I have no idea what these dates mean.



Also, this month is my blog's third anniversary (or blogiversary, a funny word that actually made it into the dictionary, according to Google). To celebrate, I'm re-posting the first photo from my first post.

San Trovaso

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


September 14, 2010

Campo de la Tana

Campo de la Tana

A weather-beaten but beautiful shrine in Castello, close to the Arsenale. It's hard to see but the stone relief inside shows San Antonio with the baby Jesus.

San Antonio

Love the colors of the wall surrounding this shrine.

San Antonio shrine

September 16, 2010

St. George and the Dragon

There are images of San Giorgio and the dragon all over Venice; here are a couple you can find outdoors on the streets. As far as I know, this is the only shrine honoring this hero saint.

San Giorgio and the Dragon

One of the many things I like about St. George is the fact that he not only has a couple of Catholic churches in Venice dedicated to him but also an Anglican church and a Greek Orthodox cathedral.

The dragon in the relief below has a double spiral tail like this other one here.

St George and the dragon

October 2, 2010

Shrine with Crucifix


A fascinating shrine in Dorsoduro, close to the church of Angelo Raffaele. The large and ornate tabernacle houses a 15th century painted wooden crucifix which had been hanging on this wall unprotected for centuries (the tabernacle was added in the mid 19th century). The shrine was restored by the Knights of San Marco in 1983 and then again more recently by Venice in Peril. I'd love to know the story of the crucifix and why it was outside and not inside the church.


October 6, 2010


Another shrine close to the church of Angelo Raffaele in Dorsoduro. I love the contrast of the deep blue with that brick wall.



October 7, 2010


I could have used this shrine for last week's "Letters" PhotoHunt but I didn't think about it until after I saw TrekCapri's cool photo from the Poste Vaticane.


It's a lovely shrine in Corte dei Preti, not far from the church of San Pietro di Castello. I love the tree!


October 27, 2010

Thank you Bert!


Thanks so much to my blog friend and fellow lover of Venice for sending this beautiful photo and allowing me to post it on the blog. I love seeing photos of shrines I haven't found yet, and this is a nice one with a particularly exuberant baby Jesus.

Bert noted the inscription on the bottom of the icon - "Lady Layard fece regalo" or Gift of Lady Layard, a British noblewoman who lived in Venice from 1883 until her death in 1912. She was married to Sir Henry Layard, an archeologist and later a diplomat. The NY Times article about her death focuses on the huge collection of Italian paintings the Layards bequeathed to the National Gallery in London; another vintage article talks about how the Italians tried to prevent this "magnificent collection" from leaving Italy. Seems that the Italians lost that fight as about 80 paintings from the Layard Bequest are in London now.

The shrine is in Calle del Magazen o del Bastion, San Polo 2029. I’m looking forward to seeing it in person the next time I’m in Venice. Thanks Bert!

November 16, 2010

A Shrine with Flower Pots

Annunciation shrine

I really like those flying flower pots on either side of this shrine. This one is up high so it's hard to get a good look or photo of the image inside the shrine. I love the colors.

November 27, 2010

Ahh Venice...


I'm home from a week in a bit of a jet-lagged haze but very happy. That place continues to amaze me; even in parts of the city where I've spent lots of time, I'd see things I'd never noticed before.

Since it was a short trip, I decided not to blog while I was there. Plus I felt the need to take a technology break. No TV, no Internet, no cell phone, even no was very therapeutic and fun. I did pop in an Internet cafe once a day to email my mom and read the reports from the pet sitter (my kitties did fine but they are glad I'm back home).

One of the reasons I went at this particular time was to be there on November 21 for the Festa della Madonna della Salute, a truly wonderful experience. The festa actually goes on for almost a week and they build a temporary votive bridge across the Grand Canal; I loved walking across that bridge. The Sunday of the Festa was the only day of bad weather while I was there....torrential rain and turn-the-umbrella-inside-out wind. But it didn't stop the Venetians from coming to pay homage to the Madonna as they've been doing for centuries. It's a beautiful celebration.

The acqua alta sirens sounded a few times but it wasn't as bad as it was when I was there in December 2008 or May 2004. I did have to take a few detours to avoid a flooded calle, but I didn't have to wear the dreaded plastic boots this time. And there were several incredible warm and blue-sky days...I was very lucky!

So as soon as I recover (and finish labeling my photos before I forget where I was when I took them), I'll be blogging about my trip. Some great church visits (went inside five new ones to add to my life list) plus lots of shrines, cats, radicchio, Torcello, pizza, and all the other things I love about Venezia.

December 8, 2010

Shrines by the votive bridge

Of course, I loved the fact that there were shrines on both entrances to the votive bridge, one on each side of the Grand Canal. On the San Marco side was this green and white tabernacle flanked by stone lion heads.


And on the Dorsoduro side of the bridge, there was this large shrine-within-a-shrine.


Daniel asked how long it took to take the bridge down. Not very long, I don't think. It closed Monday night at 11 pm and they took it down in the middle of the night. Early Tuesday morning I walked down there and it was gone until next year.


December 14, 2010

Madonna della Salute

A few shrines that contain an image of the icon from the high altar of the church of Santa Maria della Salute~



Here's one with some helpful graffiti, in English no less: "Don't Worry!" ~



Continue reading "Madonna della Salute" »

January 7, 2011

PhotoHunt: Free Week


This week's theme is "Free Week."

A theme-free week so I'm free to post a few more photos from my November trip to Venice. When I saw this theme, the Joni Mitchell song, "Free Man in Paris," popped into my head...a great song about the joys of travel, so it fits.

I was lucky to have a bunch of sunny, blue sky days while I was there. I took this one from the vaporetto (water bus). Feel free to click to enlarge so you can see the colors of that building.

blue sky

One of my favorite things to look for and photograph in Venice are the street shrines.

garden shrine

You never know what you will see in those canals....


You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


January 11, 2011

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

Continue reading "Madonna Barcarola" »

January 21, 2011

PhotoHunt: Hands


This week's theme is "Hands."

A few carved-in-stone hands seen on the streets of Venice. I was surprised how many of these I had.

We did this theme a couple of years ago; my first take on this theme was more colorful and less stony than this one. :)

Happy Friday and have a great weekend.





You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


January 25, 2011

Pink Umbrella

pink umbrella

A large neighborhood shrine I found when I spent the day on Giudecca. I like the letter "M" in the metalwork.The holy image inside this one is a colorful Pieta tableau. The pink umbrella is a nice touch too.




February 9, 2011

Mixed emotions

Dorsoduro 1726

One of my very favorite shrines was this little stone niche honoring San Antonio. Even though it was badly degraded and looked like it’s melting into the wall, there’s something so poignantly beautiful about those old stones and that little purple candle.

So I had a bit of a pang when I saw that it’s gone and has been replaced by a modern shrine. I guess it was beyond repair and perhaps the people who live in this building or neighborhood wanted a new one. It’s still dedicated to San Antonio and still has a candle. You can find this one in Dorsoduro in Campo Angelo Raffaele

Dorsoduro 1726

Dorsoduro 1726

Continue reading "Mixed emotions" »

March 9, 2011


Castello 6282

Shrines like this one just make me smile. It's got a funky art deco feel to it, and I love all the colors inside.

I'm still going through my photos from my November trip, sorting and putting tags on them. I was on the verge of having a big unwieldy mess, so in addition to sorting my most recent ones, I'm going back into the archives to tag ones from previous trips too. I'm also going back to old blog posts and replacing photos if I found I had a better one. Pre-spring cleaning!

Anyway, I'm starting to notice small or large changes in various things that I photographed more than once but in different years. It's especially interesting when I see changes in shrines that I might not have noticed right off the bat like I did with the poor little melting San Antonio shrine.

These top two photos were taken in November 2010 and the two down below were taken on my previous trip. This shrine was nice before but is even better now.

Castello 6282

Continue reading "Evolution" »

March 10, 2011

Madonna del Rosario

Dorsoduro 2237

Another sweet shrine. This one's in Dorsoduro, not far from the church of San Nicolo dei Mendicoli, still one of my very favorite churches in Venice. The relief is degraded but you can see that Mary wears a crown and is holding a squirmy Baby Jesus, and both of them are holding rosaries.

I have a rosary with reddish-pink rosewood beads that I bought in Vatican City. It's beautiful and smells just like roses...I got it out recently to see if the scent had faded and it hasn't. I also have a string of Hindu prayer beads that were a gift from a friend who got them in India. Always interesting when traditions like prayer beads cross faiths. I think they are used in Buddhism and Islam too.

I like how this shrine has two vases for flowers - they look much more modern than the shrine itself, but whoever added them put them to the side so the flowers wouldn't block the view of the sacred image.

Dorsoduro 2237

Dorsoduro 2237

March 18, 2011

The other Ponte di Rialto shrine

San Marco, Ponte di Rialto

Oops! Sorry guys, I was wrong. There's not another Annunciation but there is an Assunta! I messed up when translating one of my books but found another (in English) that identified this relief as an Assumption scene.

There are two shrines on the Rialto bridge - one on the San Polo side and this one on the San Marco side. Mary is being lifted up to Heaven by the crowd of cherubs below.

San Marco, Ponte di Rialto

The wine bar next to this shrine is a fun place to sit and watch all the traffic on the Grand Canal. A photo of this bar was posted all over the Internet after the especially high acqua alta of December 2008. My photo shows it dry; click through for the wet view.

San Marco, Ponte di Rialto

Continue reading "The other Ponte di Rialto shrine" »

March 21, 2011

What's Going On?

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear..."

Dorsoduro 103 or 108

I love a good mystery and of course, Venice is full of them. Bert of VDP and I have been emailing about this shrine and as Bert noted, we have more questions than answers. Maybe someone else can shed some light into the intriguing scene on the relief inside this shrine.

There are three characters (from left to right)....a naked man sitting down, a naked woman standing up facing him, and a clothed bearded gentleman with his hand on the woman's head.

Dorsoduro 103 or 108

Both my Capitelli book and Venezia Museo identify it as a "Purgatorio" scene in which St. Peter (?) is trying to get a reluctant woman to leave Purgatory. The book does have a "?" next to St. Peters name and as Bert noticed, the bearded guy doesn't appear to be holding the keys that usually identify St. Peter.

A Lover of Venice captions it as "Carnal Love Behind Bars, Dorsoduro." Perhaps the woman is so carnal that she doesn't want to leave Purgatory?

Then Bert noticed that PreserVenice identifies the scene as the Creation of Eve. But look at Bert's photo below...the naked guy's hand is inside her belly and she looks pregnant. Not part of the Adam and Eve story as far as I know.

Any ideas?!


Continue reading "What's Going On? " »

March 23, 2011

Cappella Votiva

cappella votiva

I wish I knew more about this place especially whether or not it's ever open. This votive chapel is in Cannaregio on Calle del Forno, not far from the church of Santa Sofia. It was built in 1806 to house a miracle-working image of the Madonna and San Rocco that had been in a nearby street shrine. If anyone knows more, please let me know!

cappella votiva

March 25, 2011

PhotoHunt: Cage(d)


This week's theme is "Cage(d)."

Birds for sale in a shop window in Venice. Seeing animals in cages makes me sad. These little guys look very crowded in there. I hope they ended up in better living quarters later on.

birds for sale

When looking through the archives trying to find something for this theme, I noticed that some of my Venetian street shrines look like cages. Free the saints!

The statue inside this shrine is Santa Teresa di Lisieux. She's sometimes known as "The Little Flower" or as the "Saint of the Little Ways," and you've probably received an email about her (it's been floating around the web for years).

A couple of other photos of this shrine are here. It has a beautiful purple marble frame around it.

Dorsoduro 1523

You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. Happy Spring!


April 6, 2011

One more Torcello shrine

Be still, my heart! Boy, I love this one.

I wasn't expecting to find another shrine on Torcello since I'd spent a long time looking for them in 2008. But when I walked across the Ponte del Diavolo, I found this Madonna in a niche in the wall. What a beauty.




April 19, 2011

A couple of San Antonio shrines on Burano

Thanks to everyone who has commented or contacted me after the tornadoes hit North Carolina this past weekend. I'm fine and so are all of my family and friends. It was such a scary storm - it rattled the windows of my house and the thunder scared the cats, but we came through it okay. My thoughts are with all of those who lost their homes and loved ones.

Now to Burano...

You have to change boats at Burano on the way to Torcello, and so I stopped and spent a couple of hours wandering around there, looking for shrines and cats. I also visited the church of San Martino which was closed the last time I was there.

I found a few shrines on Burano in 2008 and even more this time. Their shrines are particularly charming and very well-kept. It's really such a lovely island; that one main drag is kinda touristy but the surrounding neighborhoods are nice. I really love both of these shrines. More Burano photos coming soon.




April 24, 2011

More Burano shrines

Both of these are large, colorful, and dramatic with huge bouquets of flowers and big electric lights. I'd love to see what they look like at night with those lights on.


Because the campo in front was torn up, I wasn't able to get a decent photo of this one. Had to stand right underneath and shoot. This Madonna is holding an exuberant Baby Jesus throwing his arms out with joy. Great flowers too!



April 26, 2011

A few more Burano shrines

Each of these was tucked away inside a sotoportego, above the exit. They're all small and rather homespun, not elegant but very charming.


This one's unusual...a paper collage of sacred images with "Salvami Regina" at the center. Save me/us, Queen of Heaven....


And this one has a bottle of holy water very much like the one I got at the Festa della Madonna della Salute.


June 14, 2011

Fondamenta de la Misericordia

Cannaregio 3599

This large shrine is in Cannaregio alongside the enormous Scuola Nova della Misericordia, near a former abbey and the deconsecrated church of Santa Maria Valverde. It’s really more of a tabernacle than a shrine; it even has a marble prayer step where worshippers can kneel.

I hope to stroll by this one someday and see that they have cleaned the carvings on the base. These reliefs show the Madonna della Misericordia in the center, protecting two worshippers under her cloak, with a Venetian merchant ship on either side of her.

Cannaregio 3599

The wrought iron gate protecting this shrine is quite lovely but makes it challenging to photograph the image inside of a rather Byzantine-looking painting of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Child. This sacred image is relatively new because for centuries, the tabernacle housed a 14th century Gothic statue of the Pieta which was stolen in 1973. Story goes that the thief lost the statue when he fell into a canal while making his escape, but that might just be an urban legend. The book I Capitelli di Venezia has a photo of the lost statue that I scanned in.

Cannaregio 3599


Many thanks to Bert! After I posted this, he sent this wonderful photo below of the image inside and notes, "I love the way the Child's right hand has circled His Mother's neck. It's not right anatomically, but it still looks good." I agree!


Continue reading "Fondamenta de la Misericordia" »

June 21, 2011

Madonna of the Gondoliers

San Marco

There are a number of shrines in Venice connected in one way or another to the iconic gondoliers. This one houses a beautiful relief of the Madonna and Child, with God the Father above them raising his hand in blessing, and carvings of two gondolas below.

This shrine can be found on the Ponte della Paglia (the bridge that's always filled with tourists looking at the Bridge of Sighs). The sacred image is known as the Madonna of the Gondoliers (or Our Lady of the Traghetto) not only because of the gondola carvings but also because the shrine is placed so that it's clearly visible to gondolas crossing under the bridge.

It was nice of this gondola with pink roses to float into my photo when I was admiring the shrine. :)

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco

This bridge was built in 1360 and was enlarged in the 19th century. The shrine was added in 1583.

Continue reading "Madonna of the Gondoliers" »

June 28, 2011

Madonna of the Gondoliers, part two

This is a fascinating mystery. Far from San Marco, on a building in a quiet residential section of Giudecca, is this relief which shows an image of the Ponte della Paglia shrine, Madonna of the Gondoliers, along with the prow of a gondola. As far as I know, it's the only case where a Venetian shrine is honored in a reproduction like this.

I wonder if this is or was the home of a devout gondolier. Another theory (thanks Bert!) is that this relief used to be inside a shrine but is now on its own. In "The World of Venice," Jan Morris mentions a votive shrine that was erected on Giudecca by gondoliers to thank Our Lady for not letting the new-fangled vaporetto drive them out of business.

You can find this relief at Dorsoduro/Giudecca 383, Fondamenta de la Palada.



June 30, 2011

Ponte Cavallo

Another shrine on a bridge that seems to be located specifically for gondoliers and boatmen...right at their eye level and just above the water!

The beautiful carving of Mary, Queen of Heaven, is dated 1615. The bridge is Ponte Cavallo (horse), named in honor of the famous equestrian statue in the adjacent campo of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo (aka San Zanipolo). There might be gondolas carved at the bottom of this shrine too but it's kind of hard to tell. I think I see them though in the third photo down.

Castello 6778

Castello 6778

I love the stars above her shoulder. Many shrines have flowers, but this one has a live volunteer weed growing out of the stones! A remarkably green and healthy looking plant too. It's great to see plants growing in improbable places like this...makes me believe that nature will prevail no matter what.

Castello 6778

Continue reading "Ponte Cavallo" »

July 5, 2011

Ponte del Fontego

Hope everyone who celebrates Independence Day had a nice long holiday weekend!

Continuing with my series of shrines with connections to gondoliers and boatmen, this one isn't actually on a bridge but is adjacent to one, Ponte del Fontego, which enters into Campo Santa Giustina.

There used to be a traghetto landing here, and the shrine was erected in 1621 by the Scuola di Devozione dei Barcaroli (the guild of boatmen). Like several others, this shrine has bas-relief gondolas. This one is unique because it also has a couple of cheerful lions.

Castello 2841 A

Castello 2841 A

Originally this was a Marian shrine with a statue of Immacolata inside. Then for many years in the 20th century, the niche was empty. At some point, a group of locals restored the shrine and added a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Then in 2004, a statue of Santa Giustina was placed inside in honor of 1700 years since her martyrdom in 304 AD. Santa Giustina is an Italian saint from nearby Padua, and this campo is also home to a deconsecrated church dedicated to her. In the 7th century, this saint appeared to San Magno and told him to build this church in Venice for her.

Castello 2841 A

Castello 2841 A

Continue reading "Ponte del Fontego" »

July 11, 2011

Sotoportego del Traghetto

San Polo 1099

I haven't been to every traghetto station in Venice, but most of the ones I have visited have a shrine. Some of them have both a Madonna housed in one of those green metal tabernacles on a pole in the canal and a regular shrine on dry-land too. This one is in San Polo, inside a sotoportego not far from the church of San Silvestro.

Another case of good I was admiring their shrine, three gondoliers came strolling down the way.

San Polo 1099

San Polo 1099

Continue reading "Sotoportego del Traghetto" »

July 14, 2011

A few more...

A few more photos to wrap up this series of shrines with connections to gondoliers and boats...

This first one is inside the wooden kiosk close to Piazza San Marco where tourists go to book their gondola tour. The image inside is the icon from the high altar of La Salute with a little plastic gondola in front of her and the "ferro" (iron prow) of a gondola to her side.

San Marco

This one is in Cannaregio at the Santa Sofia traghetto landing.



Also in Cannaregio, this image of the Madonna is modern and funky! This one is at a squero (boatyard). Love the gold anchor!


This one at the Sam Samuele traghetto landing contains one of the strangest sacred images of all. It's a painting of "Our Lady of the Gondoliers," and in the background is the iconic view of San Giorgio Maggiore and the row of parked gondole near San Marco.

In the foreground is a Mother and Child. The child is holding a doll that looks very much like Pinocchio (it's hard to see in the photo but he has a long nose). I don't remember Pinocchio being in the Bible. :)

San Marco

San Marco

San Marco

Continue reading "A few more..." »

September 16, 2011

PhotoHunt: Wooden

This week's theme is "Wooden."

Venice is mainly a city of stone, marble and brick and such. But there are a few wooden things around town.

Many of the windows have wooden shutters, often green. I like the contrast between the peeling paint on the wood, and the peeling stucco letting the bricks peek through.


"Botti" are wooden barrels, and there are three of them painted on the sign for this restaurant. The sign itself is made of the top of a wooden barrel.

ostaria ae botti

And here's one of the wooden barrels outside the entrance to one of my favorite places to eat. The wooden basket sitting on top of the barrel holds a big glass keg for wine.

da Alberto

Many of the street shrines are made of stone, but there are a few wooden ones like this nice carved one~

San Marco

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


October 5, 2011

Hotel Cipriani shrine

It had never crossed my mind to visit this hotel, one of the swankiest in Venice and way out of my price range. But then I heard that they have a shrine...

The Hotel Cipriani is on Giudecca and was opened in 1958 by the owner of Harry's Bar. Its website has a "golden book" list of some of the royalty and celebrities who have stayed there.

At one time, this hotel had the only swimming pool in Venice, but I'm not sure if that's still the case. You can see the Cipriani pool from the bell tower of San Giorgio Maggiore; I've got a photo of that pool somewhere (taken with film).

So anyway, I walked in, found the shrine quickly and easily, took some photos, and left. It looked like a beautiful hotel, but I didn't really feel like exploring. Plus I wouldn't know what to say to George Clooney if I ran into him anyway. Very nice shrine though!


Hotel Cipriani

Hotel Cipriani

Continue reading "Hotel Cipriani shrine" »

October 21, 2011

PhotoHunt: High

This week's theme is "High."

Most of the street shrines in Venice are at eye-level, but there are a few that are up high, second story or so. Not quite as easy to spot.

San Marco 340



Below the jump, you can see the non-zoom versions where you can tell how high these shrines really are.

Thanks for visiting and have a happy weekend. You can find more Photo Hunters and join the hunt here.


Continue reading "PhotoHunt: High" »

November 8, 2011

San Marcuola shrine

Cannaregio 1965

Shrines with mosaics inside of them aren't that common, but there are a few of them around Venice. I posted a few a while back, and here's another one I found last year.

This one's in Cannaregio, and the mosaic is a copy of a sacred image of Madonna Addolorata (Our Lady of Sorrows) that can be found in the nearby church of San Marcuola. The owner of the house where the shrine is (on Calle Lombardo) commissioned the mosaic from the Orsoni family in 1970. The Orsoni are well-known mosaic artists who offer classes and also have a B&B in Venice. On one of the Venice episodes of her travel show, Samantha Brown took a mosaic class from them, and it looked like a lot of fun.

I wonder what the little padlock hanging beneath the shrine is for? Another note about this shrine - you can see where a graffiti "artist" wrote "Ciao!" on the base but someone has tried to clean it off. Venice has a graffiti problem, for sure, but it's unusual to see graffiti on a street shrine.

Cannaregio 1965

November 16, 2011

St. Joseph shrines

There are hundreds of shrines dedicated to Mary in Venice (with San Antonio shrines in a distant second place), so it's always interesting to find shrines dedicated to anyone else. I found a couple dedicated to St. Joseph (San Giuseppe in Italian), the earthly father of Jesus who also has one church in Venice dedicated to him (San Giuseppe di Castello or Sant' Iseppo in Venetian).

This first shrine is in Castello and has an inscription that translates to "St. Joseph, pray for us." It's interesting that it has the English name "Joseph" on it. The painting inside is a traditional image of a grandfatherly and peaceful Joseph cradling the infant Jesus.

Castello 6450

Castello 6450

This next one is tucked away in a dark calle in sestiere San Marco; Jesus is older and Joseph looks rather wild and woolly! The inscription on the cracked base of this one reads "1939."

San Marco 5096

San Marco 5096

And thank you so much to Bert for sending this lovely photo to complete my St. Joseph collection! Bert takes wonderful photos of Venice; you can see his work on Venice Daily Photo.

San Marco

Continue reading "St. Joseph shrines" »

December 15, 2011

Newest and Oldest

This shrine, installed in 2007, might be the newest shrine in Venice. It's interesting that they continue to add more street shrines (it makes me happy). This one is not far from San Rocco and the Frari; I wonder if this little corner had a pissotta before the shrine came along? Perhaps that's what the shrine is sitting on?

There's electric lighting and a Madonna and Child inside, a couple of angel carvings on the tabernacle, and an inscription, "Ave Maria Gratia Plena" (Hail Mary Full of Grace).

Dorsoduro 3078

Dorsoduro 3078

Dorsoduro 3078

Continue reading "Newest and Oldest" »

January 9, 2012

Shrine with vases

San Polo 1312

A beautiful shrine in San Polo, this one is unique with the vases on each side and the trailing vine surrounding it. Someone is taking very good care of this shrine - it's lovely.

IHS is carved on the top; thanks to google, I learned that this is a monogram of the name of Christ.

San Polo 1312

San Polo 1312

January 13, 2012

PhotoHunt: Joy

This week's PhotoHunt theme is "Joy."

There's so much amazing architecture in Venice, palaces and churches that I love to see. But it also brings me joy to find these charming little neighborhoods, especially when they have a happy and colorful shrine like this one, dedicated to San Antonio (St. Anthony of Padua).

Castello 3017

Castello 3017

Castello 3017

Thanks for visiting! You can find more photohunters and see a list of upcoming themes on Gattina's website here.


February 1, 2012

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~

Santa Croce 774

I love the ones with flowers~

Dorsoduro 538

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


February 3, 2012

Twigs and Dedication

I'm participating in two PhotoHunts this weekend.

First up, the theme for this week's Saturday Photo Hunting is "twigs."

I took this photo this past November when the color of the leaves caught my eye. The more I look at it, the more I realize that the twig is tiny compared to the leaves. Must be stronger than it looks.

And next, I was happy to learn that long-time fellow photohunter, Archie (of Archie's Archives) has started a theme-based photo meme called Friday Foto Finder. This week's theme is "dedication."

As I wrote earlier this week, most of the street shrines in Venice are dedicated to the Madonna. But here's one that's different - this shrine is dedicated to Santa Lucia (St. Lucy) and can be found in the campo outside the church that is co-dedicated to her and San Geremia.

Cannaregio 271

Thanks for visiting!

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.


The Foto Find Challenges are here.


February 17, 2012


The theme for this week's Saturday Photo Hunt is "circles."

I love this theme even though I seem to take many photos of circles and it was tough to narrow it down. Here's a small collection of circles that can be found in Venice~

San Marco 4864

Dorsoduro 3254/A

San Trovaso


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.


March 6, 2012

H is for Honor

A lovely neighborhood shrine in Venice. Here's the approach down a narrow calle (street):

Castello 2002

Castello 2002

The plaque underneath the tabernacle says that the residents of this neighborhood erected this shrine in 1958 to honor and remember the victims of war.

There are hundreds of shrines on the streets of Venice, but this one is unique in that they went to the trouble of putting that wallpaper up behind the shrine. It's rather homespun but very sweet.

Castello 2002

Castello 2002

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


March 13, 2012

I is for Icons

There are many icons of Mary in the churches of Venice, and you can even find a few in the street shrines.

Venice also has a Museum of Icons close to the Greek church (San Giorgio dei Greci), and this first shrine below is near the museum with one of the icons represented inside.

Castello 3412

This street shrine on the island of Murano pays homage to one of Venice's most revered icons, the Madonna Nikopeia in the Basilica di San Marco.


This one can be found on Giudecca.


Another one in mosaic that honors the Madonna Nikopeia.

San Marco

This one is close to the church of Santa Maria Formosa.


If you're interested in icons (not just in Venice), I highly recommend this book by Sister Wendy Beckett, Encounters with God: In Quest of the Ancient Icons of Mary. It's a "road trip" pilgrimage book about Sister Wendy's travels to visit the eight oldest icons of Mary. These icons survived the 8th century wholesale destruction of all icons and religious art, making them some of the oldest Christian art in existence.

Five of them are in Rome, and the other three are in London, Egypt, and the Ukraine. The book has nice color photos, and it's amazing how unique and powerful these ancient sacred images are.


Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


March 30, 2012

PhotoHunt: Artificial


Many of the street shrines in Venice have artificial flowers. They are beautiful, and it's not always easy to tell if they are real or not.


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.


April 6, 2012

PhotoHunt: Yellow

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring!

A large yellow street shrine in Venice with a long and interesting history~

Castello 6121 A

At one time, this shrine contained a miracle-working image of the Madonna del Parto (of birth). The plaque underneath the shine commemorates this image along with the date (July 1612) when the image was moved inside the nearby church of Santa Maria Formosa.

Castello 6121 A

Castello 6121 A

Next to the shrine there's a place for offerings to the Blessed Virgin del Parto.

Castello 6121 A

I wish I knew more about this one, especially the miracle stories. There's a chapel in the church dedicated to the Madonna del Parto, but I don't think the painting in the chapel is the same as the one that's inside the shrine today. You can see the initials "MDP" in the ironwork. I bet that in 1612, this shrine wasn't painted yellow!

Castello 6121 A

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.


April 17, 2012

N is for Niche...

...or "nicchia" in Italian. Some street shrines are tabernacles hanging on the wall but others, like these, are a niche inside the wall.

All of these Venetian shrines have the Virgin Mary inside but as you can see, she has many faces and styles.

San Marco 2560-4



Cannaregio 2927 A

As I said in my "G is for Graffiti" post, Venice has a graffiti problem. It's rare to see a street shrine defaced but the one below has some spray paint on Mary's face.

Dorsoduro 3307

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


June 5, 2012

U is for Unique

Here are a few shrines in Venice, all dedicated to Mary but each one unique.

This one is on the lighthouse on the island of Murano~

Murano lighthouse

Murano lighthouse

This one, with a mosaic Mary inside, has metal shutters with an "M" embossed on them. Once the sun goes down, someone in the neighborhood comes and closes the shutters.


Cannaregio 4678

I love the textures of the wall behind this shrine and also the colors inside. This one has an "M" too.



Many shrines have floral tributes but this one has a simple green sprig~


There are many many shrines in Venice and I haven't found them all yet!




Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


July 10, 2012

Z is for Zattere

Yay! We've made it to Z, the last letter in the alphabet. This has been a fun challenge. Thanks to all the folks who have visited and left such lovely comments on my blog.

So, here is the Zattere (the word means "rafts"). If you go to Venice, you're sure to spend some time walking along the waterfront street (or quay) called the Zattere and admiring its fantastic views.

From "Venice and Its Lagoon" by Giulio Lorenzetti:

"This broad promenade was known in the old days as la Carbonaria from the coal which was unloaded here. It was paved in 1519 and is today one of the prettiest walks in the city at midday along beside the wide Giudecca Canal, looking towards the Giudecca island. The name comes from the "zattere" (rafts) of timber which were brought down the rivers and moored here."

This coming weekend is the Festa del Redentore, a celebration that began in the mid-16th century to celebrate the end of a terrible outbreak of plague in Venice. The Venetians build a temporary bridge from the Zattere across the Giudecca canal to the church of the Redentore and walk across in thanksgiving.

Here is a view of some of the buildings along the Zattere, taken from a vaporetto in the canal. The larger church is the Gesuati and the smaller one is Santa Maria della Visitazione.


Zattere is also the name of a vaporetto (water bus) stop in this part of Venice~

Another view of the Zattere stop and the church~


Walking along the Zattere, you might notice this former door that's now a window with a sculpture of a girl with her hair tied beneath her chin~


You can also find this small shrine along the Zattere~

Dorsoduro 917 A

There's a silver saint inside the shrine. It might be Padre Pio but I'm not sure.

Dorsoduro 917 A

Visit the home of ABC Wednesday to find more Round 10 participants!


July 13, 2012

PhotoHunt: Metal

Many of the street shrines in Venice have metal gates protecting the sacred image inside. The decorative metal work is often beautiful though it can make photographing the inside of the shrine a challenge.:)

This shrine, close to the Rialto market, has a metal sunburst or floral pattern on its gate. There's been a shrine at this location since 1310 - the original shrine was probably dedicated to San Matteo (St. Matthew); there was a now-demolished church dedicated to San Matteo nearby.

Dorsoduro 364

The sacred image inside this shrine today is a statue of the Madonna and Child. Sometimes Jesus is a baby but in this case, he's an exuberant toddler throwing his arms out to bless us.

Dorsoduro 364

There's another interesting metal feature of this shrine. On either side, the marble is carved with an image of a vase or urn, and a little piece of metal is inserted in the carving so that a floral offering can be attached. So charming!

Dorsoduro 364

Dorsoduro 364

The photos above were taken in 2010. Here's an interesting comparison below - the same shrine as seen in 2008. Lots of changes!

The sacred image was a framed painting of Mary, not a statue, and there aren't any green sprigs in the metal thingamajigs on the sides. Looks like the marble has been cleaned since 2008 too.

Dorsoduro 364

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

July 28, 2012

PhotoHunt: Paintings

A few shrines in Venice with paintings (or copies of paintings) inside of them~

This shrine contains a copy of a painting of the Madonna and Child; the original resides in the nearby church of the Gesuati. The tabernacle is dated at the bottom: 1860.

Dorsoduro 885

The painting inside this shrine is very degraded, but the the orange metal flowers are cheerful and make me smile. This one is dated too, in Roman Numerals, MDCLXV (1665).

Castello 2125

Castello 2125

This fancy Baroque shrine is dated 1717. That date applies to the elegant marble tabernacle, not to the image inside which is a copy of a painting of the Virgin of Lourdes.

Castello 5160

The Deposition of Christ. This painting looks familar but I can't place it. Anyone recognize it?

Cannaregio 1693

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

October 27, 2012

PhotoHunt: On a Shelf

I like this theme. Gonna be fun to see what everyone comes up with. I'm got a few street shrines in Venice.

This shrine has shelves on each side with flowers on them. On the metal front is an inscription that says that the shrine was erected by Bello Angelo as an ex-voto (votive offering) in gratitude for the danger he survived on January 21, 1957. I'd love to know the story!

Castello 1903

This shrine is sitting on a shelf.

San Marco 1455

This shrine has a shelf below for flowers. The inscription on this one translates to "Our Lady of Peace, Pray for Us."

Cannaregio 2685

I like these flowers made of glass beads. I bought some of these when I was in Venice one time.

Cannaregio 2685

The light inside this shrine is so big, it's blocking the view of the Madonna. I bet this one looks cool at night when the light's on.

Cannaregio 2685

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

December 22, 2012

PhotoHunt: Looking In

I love looking in to the street shrines of Venice to see what sacred image is inside. Most of the shrines are dedicated to Mary, and she has many many faces.

inside shrine

inside shrine

inside shrine

inside shrine

The second most popular saint honored in Venetian shrines is San Antonio (St. Anthony) who lived in nearby Padua (Padova), part of the Venetian Republic.

inside shrine

Thanks for visiting! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Like so many of you, I've been heavy-hearted about this latest mass murder here in the USA. So I decided to join the 26 Acts of Kindness campaign to honor the children and teachers from Sandy Hook Elementary. Right now, I'm 17 out of 26, and plan to complete the rest before the new year.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

January 19, 2013

PhotoHunt: Something Yellow

Some vivid yellow flowers next to a street shrine in Venice~


See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

February 15, 2013

PhotoHunt: Food

When in Venice, do as the Venetians do and eat cichetti, delicious little bar snacks usually eaten standing up and enjoyed with a glass of wine or two. One of the best places for cichetti is shown in the photo below, Cantinone gia Schiavi (also known as Al Bottegon), an eatery ranked in the Top Ten restaurants in Venice on Trip Advisor despite the fact that it's not a "sit down" restaurant at all - it's an osteria (a wine bar that serves food). It's a lively place, filled with both locals and tourists, and the food is wonderful. You can also buy a bottle of wine to take back to your hotel or apartment.

Cantinone gia Schiavi

I love that this place has its very own shrine to the Madonna next to the entrance. She has a halo of electric red lights around her head~

Dorsoduro 992

The photo above was taken in 2007 while the one below is from 2010. The blue paint outlining the shrine had chipped off but she does have some flowers this time~


Another view of Cantinone gia Schiavi. This osteria is across the canal from the church of San Trovaso in Dorsoduro.

Cantinone gia Schiavi

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

March 7, 2013

Rialto Market shrines

A couple of shrines in the Rialto Market area of Venice~

This first one overlooks the Pescaria (fish market). The tabernacle with gothic columns dates back to the early 1300's, around the same time that the market began. The Madonna and Child relief inside the shrine dates to the 16th century. The "Ave Maria" inscription is faded but still legible, and there are always flowers on this shrine.

San Polo 341 C

This Madonna can be found in the Sotoportego L'Erberia overlooking the outdoor dining area of restaurant Bancogiro. At one time, this area was part of the wholesale market which is now mainly on the other side of the building. The book, I Capitelli di Venezia, reports that at one time, the caretaker of this shrine was a gentleman named Terzantonio Gavagnin who had a wholesale booth underneath the shrine. Mr. Gavagnin was an activist in favor of continuing the tradition of blessing the fruit and vegetable market (erberia) on San Iseppo's (St. Joseph's) feast day which is coming up soon, on March 19.

San Polo 142

The capitelli book says that this shrine was restored in 1920. I have a feeling that it's been restored again since then because it has those "go away pigeon" spikes on top. What are those things called?!?

San Polo 142

San Polo 142

April 6, 2013

PhotoHunt: Peace

Another lovely street shrine in Venice. The inscription on the top, Regina Pacis Ora Pro Nobis, translates from Latin to "Queen of Peace, Pray for Us."

There's a black-and-white print inside the shrine showing the Mother and Child with Saints, surrounded by a number of ex-votos, little metal ornaments with ribbons on top. These votive offerings of devotion are given in gratitude for an answered prayer.

Canneregio 4755

Also inside this shrine, nestled in the bottom corner surrounded by pink roses, is a statue of Santa Rita da Cascia (1381-1457) - an Italian nun who became a saint.

Cannaregio 4755

And a charming little quirky detail - the yellow tulips are in a vase with a picture of a cartoon donkey kicking up his heels. Not sure who he is!

Canneregio 4755

Electric power cords on one side, graffiti on the other~

Canneregio 4755

Hard to see because the glass caught reflections of the buildings across the street from the shrine, but you can see another saint down at the bottom behind the tulips. This is San Pio X (Pope Pius X) who was pope from 1903-1914. Before he was pope, he was the Patriarch of Venice for ten years. He was canonized in 1954.

Cannaregio 4755

Thanks for visiting and have a great weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

July 24, 2013

A few San Polo shrines

A few more shrines in San Polo, not far from the Rialto market area. All three of these are connected to restaurants.

This sweet shrine overlooks the rear entrance to Poste Vecie, the oldest restaurant in Venice. You can see the little bridge leading in to the main entrance here.

San Polo 1613

If you've got a trattoria named for the Madonna on a calle also named for her, you have to have a shrine too, right? Actually, the shrine was here first, and the calle named for the shrine, many centuries ago. Trattoria alla Madonna opened in 1954 and is a popular place specializing in seafood from the lagoon. The food is good and there's a nice collection of art inside (some of which you can see on their website).

San Polo 592

San Polo 592

And finally, a very interesting shrine next to takeaway pizza place, Antico Forno. I want to go back in daylight and have a closer look inside this one. I learned that at one point, this shrine housed an orginal 1831 painting by Lattanzio Querena (1768-1853) whose work can be seen in a number of Venice's churches. I wonder if the painting is still there or if it's a copy. The painting is interesting too in that it includes both the Madonna and San Antonio, the Top Two most revered saints in the shrines of Venice.

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Bert, who solved the mystery of the Querena painting. The brass plaque at the bottom of the shrine tells us that the painting IS a copy because the original was stolen on June 9, 1990. The copy was given by Marco Zuanich "in reparation for the sacrilegious act," and the shrine was blessed by the Patriarch of Venice, Angelo Scola, on February 6, 2010. Thank you, Bert!

I'd love to know more about the history of this building too. Love those marble columns.

San Polo 973

San Polo 973

A couple of months ago, I got a comment from a reader asking the location of one of the shrines I've posted. You can click on the photos to get the addresses (if I know them!).

September 6, 2013

PhotoHunt: Shadows

First up, an interesting shadow of a light next to a Madonna and Child shrine in Venice.



Here you can see the light casting the shadow and a couple of residents of the campiello that houses this shrine~


Also in Venice, shadows cast by the beautiful bridge railings~


And here are a couple more closer to home. These were taken at the Museum of Life and Science in the Magic Wings Butterfly House, one of my favorite places to take photos~


tropical leaves

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. :)

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

October 11, 2013

PhotoHunt: Close Up

Here are some close up looks inside a few of Venice's many street shrines.

The first shrine honors San Antonio (St. Anthony of Padua) while the others are shrines to the Madonna.

Santa Croce 774

Castello 984

Santa Croce 1972


San Polo 643

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. :)

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

December 7, 2013

PhotoHunt: Glass

Venice has a long history of glass making. In the 13th century, the glass factories were moved to the nearby island of Murano to reduce the risk of fires in Venice proper, and glass making continues on Murano today.

Here's a sweet little street shrine on Murano showing "Madonnina dei Vetrai" (Our Lady of the Glassmakers).



Also on Murano, a strange glass sculpture. It looks too fragile to be displayed outside.



Another modern glass sculpture in Murano~


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend. :)

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

January 17, 2014

PhotoHunt: Two

Campo Do Pozzi

"Campo Do Pozzi" translates to a campo with two wells. But as you can see in the photo below, there's only one well there today. What happened to the other one?

(Kudos to the resident of this campo who was trying to stuff his trash into the trash can despite the fact that his neighbors had dumped their trash alongside the well.)

Campo Do Pozzi

But check this out. On the side of the one remaining well, there's a relief that shows two wells! This well dates back to the 16th century, and the fact that they chose to honor the existence of two wells shows us how important wells were back in the day before modern plumbing (a time I can't and don't want to imagine!)~

Campo Do Pozzi

There's a beautiful shrine in this campo too with an image of Titian's Assunta inside~

Campo Do Pozzi

Campo Do Pozzi

Campo Do Pozzi

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

April 4, 2014

PhotoHunt: Rocks

Rocks line the canal on the beautiful island of Torcello~


Another view. The handpainted sign says "Rio Chiuso" (canal closed). I think there was some maintenance or repair work going on.


Also on Torcello, one of my favorite shrines. The Madonna is standing in a rock garden. The plants look like hens and chicks (that's what we call them here in the USA, not sure what the Venetians call them). They look happy growing in the rocks.


The same shrine, two years later. The blue paint has faded, but the plants in the rock garden are doing fine (the hens have had some chicks).


Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

May 2, 2014

Campiello San Antonio

This week's PhotoHunt theme is "Flowers."

This stately large street shrine has a small pot of live flowers in front, and several bright and blowsy artificial blossoms stuck into the grate. While some of the shrines in Venice seem abandoned and neglected, the floral offerings show that this one is clearly cared for and loved.

Cannaregio 4933

It just makes sense that a campiello named for St. Anthony of Padua would have a shrine dedicated to him. As I've written before, San Antonio is the second most represented saint in the shrines of Venice after the Virgin Mary. The campiello was quiet and deserted the day I visited this shrine.

Cannaregio 4933

This shrine dates back to at least 1600 or so and has been a focal point and gathering spot for the neighborhood ever since.

The shrine originally contained a "bella" statue of San Antonio but at some point, it was stolen. The statue inside today is a relatively modern replacement. There are more flowers inside the shrine too.

Cannaregio 4933

I like the colors and random placement of these fake flowers~

Cannaregio 4933

Speaking of colors, Venice has the most beautiful bricks I've ever seen.

Cannaregio 4933

Cannaregio 4933

Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

See a list of upcoming Saturday Photo Hunting themes on Gattina's website here.

July 14, 2014

Corte de Ca' Sarasina revisited

More and more vintage photographs of Venice have been scanned in and made their way onto the web; I love looking at them.

I was excited to find this one which shows this Castello shrine and the Venetians in the neighborhood over a hundred years ago.

Click on the photo to see it larger, so you can see the smiling faces and all the laundry!

Castello 1194

This is one of the most fantastic shrines in Venice - more of a small chapel than a shrine and so well-cared for and loved. This shrine has been in this corte since the 17th century at least.

The Ca' Sarasina shrine even has a YouTube video complete with Mozart! And more laundry!

More photos are in my previous posts about this shrine:

My first post

My second post

There's another nice image of the Madonna in this corte - this one is more modern than the Byzantine icon inside the shrine.

Castello 1220

Castello 1220

August 18, 2014

Madonna trampling on Satan

I know I'm not the only one who keeps a "next time I'm in Venice" list. Whenever I read about something that I want to seek out, I jot it down. A few years ago, I was reading John Freely's "Strolling Through Venice" (a walking tour guide) and read this:

"On the façade of the house on the corner to the right there is a statuette of the Madonna, who is holding the Christ Child and trampling on Satan."

This immediately went on my list! But when I found it, I discovered that the statue is surrounded by plexiglass, hard to see and virtually impossible to photograph.

San Polo 2614 A

I took so many photos of this statue, from every angle, trying to find some way though the plexiglass shield. Not much luck!

San Polo 2614 A

San Polo 2614 A

This was the best I could do, right underneath looking up.

San Polo 2614 A

Later on, I learned from my UK blog friend, Bert, that some people call this statue "Sputnik" since the covering resembles some kind of bizarro space craft. A shrine with a nickname...I love it.

Here's the good news. I found a pre-plexiglass photo to scan in!

There's also a photo of the statue on Victorian Web.

San Polo 2614 A

It's a unique image of Satan for sure - part cherub, part baby devil (with horns). Because it's painted wood, the statue needs the plexiglass to protect it, but it's a shame that it makes it so difficult to see. I love the little blue stars painted inside the canopy.

There's a local story/legend that this statue was discovered when the canal was drained in the 19th century (whenever you see "Rio Tera" in a street name in Venice, it means that the street/calle is a former canal that was filled in).

If the statue was found in the canal, it might have been the figurehead of a boat. You can find this charming Madonna at San Polo 2614 A (not that far from the Frari).

September 17, 2014

Anno Mariano

There are several shrines in Venice with inscriptions indicating that the shrines commemorate "Anno Mariano" (a "Marian year" dedicated to Mary).

The first of these years was 1954, declared by Pope Pius XII. An article published in 1953 explains it and says that the Pope asked for people all over the world to visit shrines to Mary during this year. He also wrote a special prayer for her.

I learned via google that hundreds of roadside shrines were built in Ireland during the Anno Mariano 1954.

I'm not sure that all of these Venetian shrines were built in 1954; my guess is that some of them were existing shrines that were renovated to commemorate Anno Mariano. This first one is on Giudecca and has a metal plaque at the bottom that says "Anno Mariano 1954."

Giudecca 882 B

A Cannaregio shrine that in addition to "Anno Mariano 1954" says "Regina della Pace, Prega per noi. La Parrocchia di San Giobbe."


Another Cannaregio shrine, this one a little worse for wear, with the same inscripition as the one above indicating that the shrine was built or is maintained by the Parish of San Giobbe.

Canneregio 679

This one is in Dorsoduro~

Dorsoduro 2394

Another gorgeous Giudecca shrine, the inscription below this one says "Ricordo Anno Mariano 1954" (in memory of...).

Giudecca 53-54 A

Giudecca 53-54 A

This beautiful shrine on Murano with the Madonna Nikopeia inside has a stone plaque below that says "Anno Mariano 1954."


The second Marian Year was in 1987, decreed by Pope John Paul II. He also wrote a prayer for the Marian year. This Cannaregio shrine honors both of the Marian years. This is the only one I've found that mentions the second year.

Cannaregio 992

December 3, 2014

A Mystery Shrine

shrine in Venice

I've never seen this shrine in person and have no idea where in Venice it is. I'm hoping that someone who reads my blog knows!

A friend of mine took this photo in 2003 - with film (remember film?) and thus she doesn't have the digital clues of date/time/what other photos were taken close to this one.

It was her first and only trip to Venice, and she doesn't know what sestiere she was in (in fact, she said that she might have taken it on Murano since she spent part of a day out there).

Here is the uncropped photo below. Please let me know if you have seen it!

shrines 001

December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays!


Tidings of comfort and joy, and best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year!

June 7, 2015

Our Lady of the Rialto Bridge

San Polo, Ponte di Rialto

A friend took this photo a decade or so ago (with film and I scanned it in).

I've written about this shrine before. It's at the foot of the Ponte di Rialto on the San Polo side. So beautiful but also so poignant with that weather-beaten face.

Follow this link to see a wonderful photo of a Venetian lady tending to the flowers before this shrine.

August 10, 2015

Power lines

madonna dell' orto

When I found this early 20th century photo of Madonna dell'Orto, it took a few moments for me to realize, "what's wrong with this picture?"'s the power poles and power lines standing in the campo in front of the church. They are no longer there - at some point, the various utilities were relocated so that they snake alongside the buildings and aren't free-standing like they were in this photo. A good move - it's hard to imagine Venice with poles blocking the views.

In the photo below, you can see some power lines and something else encased in a pipe. I didn't take this photo because of the utilities though. What caught my eye were the two small hearts.


What are they? Two small open hearts surrounded by glass tiles (though some are missing now). Another Venetian mystery!


And you can sometimes see mysterious letters embedded in the Venetian pavement. Just speculation here, but I wonder if these letters might indicate underground utilities. If anyone knows what they are, please share.



And here's one of my favorites shrines in Venice.
Power lines above, graffiti below, fresh flowers in tinfoil vases.


This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Churches in Venice in the Street Shrines category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Gatti (Cats in Venice) is the previous category.

This and That is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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