immagine Itinerario delle tavolette votive
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Itinerario delle tavolette votive

The history of popular devotion through images of votive tablets.
The church of the Valmivola preserves hundreds of painted tablets often commissioned by people of humble conditions who, faced with a escape from danger, wanted to leave a mark to thank Our Lady or the saints.

Particularly suggestive are the votive tablets preserved at the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rosa in Ostra. Many are the misfortunes avoided represented in the paintings: domestic accidents, entire families escaped from disease, storms faced in the sea.

The votive tablets have always expressed religiosity and faith in the miracles of the popular classes.

Churches, sanctuaries and chapels of Val Mivola preserve hundreds of painted tablets, often commissioned by people of humble conditions ( farmers, fishermen, carters, commoners) In the face of an escaped danger they wanted to leave a mark to thank Our Lady or the saint or the saint to whose intercession they attributed the merit for the grace received.

That people excluded from official portraiture takes back their own image by telling through the tablets painted stories set within their own family and social context.

The ex-votos allow the historian to acquire invaluable information on the living conditions of the lower classes, the places where they lived, the objects they used, the hard work of the fields, the diseases that afflicted them.

The misfortunes, represented in the painting, to which those who commissioned the work had escaped were the most varied: the biroccio who overturned with his load, the falls from the ladders of men and women intent on gathering fruit, the fall in the well in front of the farmhouse, a woman attacked in a stall by a cow imbizzarrita, a man crowned by the bull, entire families escaped typhus or pellagra, storms in the sea.

What to bring

Clothing suitable for the season.


Check opening times and dates.

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Duomo di Senigallia

Hours : 09:00 -

The route begins in the Cathedral of Senigallia where numerous votive tablets are preserved. Particularly interesting one: boy between two groups of armed with unsheathed sabers. Complex interpretation.

The most probable hypothesis is perhaps that of a quarrel between the military ended in a bloodless way thanks to the vote to Our Lady of Hope made by the young man depicted among the armed ( almost certainly the Austrians in the reconquered papal provinces).

The presence of the armed forces clearly alludes to the difficult coexistence between civilians and the military.

Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rosa in Ostra

Hours : 10:45 - Via Madonna della Rosa Ostra 60010 Ancona

The itinerary takes us to the Sanctuary of the Madonna della Rosa in Ostra where there is the most important ex voto collection: 120 votive tablets that tell 230 years of history some times of immediate reading others instead of difficult interpretation. Very curious are those related to ambushes or assaults. In a tablet the story focuses on a night shot: an ambush consumed in the moonlight over Ostra with the momentum of the houses projected upwards. It’s from the shadow that starts the “shotgun” that the gentleman can avoid. Rather enigmatic the figure of the other gentleman present in the representation. Another votive offering preserved in the Sanctuary tells of a new ambush, this time consumed on the outskirts of Ostra. On the scene this time there is also a witness who turns curious but who remains unrelated to the ambush that is taking place with the obvious will not to want to meddle.

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Church of the Madonna del Piano in Corinaldo

Hours : 12:00 -

The itinerary ends in the Church of the Madonna del Piano in Corinaldo where two votive offerings linked to stories of the sea are preserved.

It’s kind of weird that two marine-themed events are located in an indoor church.

A tablet depicts a boat in a port ( probably that of Senigallia) with five sailors on board while two of them push a sixth in the water. A fight? A robbery with the punishment of the guilty?

And again: you just want to give a lesson by drinking a little ‘the unfortunate or there is just the will to kill? In the other tablet, a large anchor harpoons a small box ( two sails with a bow) while three sailors wiggle in apparently calm waters.

The thanks should concern the men at sea but what is the role of the anchor?

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Want to see more?

Other votive tablets are preserved:

– Senigallia: in the church of Santa Liberata in Roncitelli

– Serra dè conti: in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie

– Corinaldo: in the church of Madonna del Buon Conforto, in the Church of Sant’ Anna, in the abbey of Santa Maria in Portuno,in the cheapel of Santa Apollonia

– Castelleone di Suasa: in the church of Madonna del Vallato, in the Church of Santa Maria di Massa.

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    35 km



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