Friday, November 29, 2013

Rome is full of...

fountains, churches, and shrines to the Blessed Mother.

300+ churches.

2000+ fountains.

10,000 shrines to the Blessed Mother.

One can't walk down any street and not see at least one of these things--often one sees all three.

The shrines to the Blessed Mother have been up for centuries. When candles lit the Roman streets, citizens placed paintings of the Virgin Mary behind them to help light their way.

Each painting is different and can be found on the corners of buildings or near the closest intersection of narrow Roman streets.

In the picture included here, the color of the building is typical of a Roman building. No one is allowed to alter much if anything even if you buy a building in Rome. When restored, all buildings must be kept their original color. Walking Rome, we see the colors available so long ago: the earthy tones of yellows, oranges, and browns. Occasionally, one might find a pale blue structure--a sure sign of wealth. In order to make "blue" the lapis stone from the Middle East was needed. As a matter if fact, some frescoes in St. Francis' Basilica have scratch marks all over them from commoners scraping the blue with their fingernails--they could collect it and resell it.

What I am noticing about Rome and any of the medieval cities we pass on the road, is a transition of a black and white world to one where color emerges. 

Imagine living in a time where the only color seen might be on a fabric of a wealthy merchant or politician or painted on the walls and ceilings of churches.

The 10,000 shrines to the Blessed Mother may have lit the way for Romans to walk from street to street, but they also began to lead the world into a state where color was seen by everybody, everywhere.

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