Ubi Maior - Blessing Card 13

Ubi Maior Blessing Card Holy Aedicules, Ubi Maior – Blessing Card 13, Rome Guides


In the city center of Rome are preserved over 500 holy aedicules: a sign of popular religious emotion, the Roman people has always addressed to the aedicules to ask for the solution of private existential problems, as evidenced by the ex-voto offered as a gift.

The purpose of the holy aedicules was therefore to comfort the believers, safeguarding the community from the evil and the dangers of the outside world: it is not a coincidence that many of these aedicules are located on the walls or near the city gates and that the image that stands out most often is that of the Virgin Mary, a symbol of universal protection.

Halfway between works of art and elements of street furniture, the holy aedicules are often made of different materials: paintings, frescoes, stucco, terracotta, marble, bronze and wood. Even if they were always characterized by the presence of a sacred image inside them, the forms varied from the simple medallion with an oval frame to elaborate and scenographic compositions, especially in the Baroque period, which also included architectural and sculptural elements, such as cherubs and putti.

The holy aedicules may appear a secondary and minor phenomenon, as architectural and artistic decoration, but some of them were designed by famous artists such as Antonio da Sangallo and Perin del Vaga, and other lesser known, but equally engaged in the artistic achievements of the city.

Most of the sacred aedicules date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, when they guaranteed the only night lighting in Rome with their lights.