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My very own Venetian shrine

shrine7.JPGInspired by a Spanish ceramic shrine my parents had in our home and by Annie's interesting blog posts on Venetian shrines, I set out to bring back from Venice or Andalucía my very own shrine.

While in Venice, and in the company of the lovely Anne, we came across a shop that sold replicas of sacred art found in Venetian churches. Most of the reproductions I saw were made in terracotta and had a rustic unfinished look that made them appear aged. Thinking about my childhood shrine, I asked the clerk if they did any work in ceramic and he informed me that they worked only in clay or wood.

While admiring all the different images, I spotted a beautiful Madonna and Child. The store clerk told us that it was from the church of the Madonna dell'Orto. I immediately fell in love with this sweet image and was tempted to buy it on the spot but Anne and I were headed to the train station to get her return ticket, and I didn't feel like lugging it around Venice.

I returned to the shop a few days later and asked the clerk for more information on the shrine and where specifically I would find it. He mentioned that it was located not in the church, as I was led to believe on my first visit to the shop, but in a campo nearby. I told him to hold the piece for me while I searched for the original shrine. Finding the shrine turned out to be an easy task; it was on a wall just around the corner from the church, in a quiet campiello.

Later in the afternoon I returned to the shop and bought the shrine and asked to have it shipped to my home. My Madonna was waiting for me when I returned home a month later. I found a perfect spot for her, in the shade to protect her from our scorching summers, and surrounded by a bush that I have trained on a trellis. She has been gracing (and blessing) my courtyard since December 8, the feast day of the Immaculate Conception.

The terracotta shrine on the floor of the shop.

A few weeks later it found a home in my courtyard.

A closer look.

The original shrine in its location on Via Larga Piave in Cannaregio.

The store front of Studio d'arte Vio in Cannaregio.

Comments (12)

Wow, Maria!Beautiful shrine. I love it, and the location in your courtyard is just perfect.
Great job on finding that.

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, your Madonna and Child piece is very beautiful and I love where you have your shrine in the cool shade. What a wonderul blessing to have everyday and a great reminder of your trip to Venice.

Thank you so much for sharing your photos and for writing this wonderful post. Have a great day today Maria!

I love your shrine. What a unique souvenir It looks so serene. And you choose the perfect day to celebrate and place the Madonna in your garden.

So beautiful! I love the way you have it displayed in your courtyard. The flowers on the original shrine are so beautiful too.

Great find on that shop! I loved their work and wish I had bought something - when I went, I was on my way to the train station to go to Padua and didn't want to carry anything. When I went back on my last day, it was closed. Next time!


I love your story, and I also think that your shrine looks beautiful in your courtyard.


Maria, what a wonderful shrine! It's beautiful in itself. And I imagine that it would have even more meaning for you, having seen the original and painstakingly chosen what you wanted.

A brilliant idea!


Maria, that is lovely. You must glow each time you see it.


Maria, that is a beautiful shrine. You found a perfect location for it at home!


She looks very much at home!


Maria, dear friend, thanks for sharing these photos. I am so thrilled to see your shrine in your home, what a perfect spot! I feel so blessed to have been with you when you discovered your very own Venetian shrine ♥


What a beautiful spot for your very own shrine!

How very lucky to find this beautiful shrine. I also agree that it must have even more meaning after seeing the original shrine. I love all of the photos! Great post.

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