The corridor of ex-votos

Once through the door on the north side, with its beautiful marble frame, one enters the corridor carved out of an arm of the Great Cloister, which was largely demolished. The lunettes depicting the Stories of St. Francis, frescoed, like those on the fa├žade, by Bernardino and Bernardo Muttoni, and the hundreds of votive offerings hanging here, part of the sanctuary's collection, stand out: painted and embroidered panels, objects and photographs, footballs linked to the sporting prowess of Mantuan teams, shotguns exploded, helmets... all with intense and dramatic stories to tell, from the 17th century to the present day.

The subjects are to be explored with care and curiosity: the Virgin's prodigious interventions document with truth and vividness moments of life that are difficult to find in so-called cultured painting: from traffic accidents to illnesses, from the death of livestock to the dangers of nature. The architectural structure, if properly observed, shows the ancient stone columns that surrounded the ancient cloister now drowned in the wall that has transformed this arm into a corridor. Continuing eastwards, one can access the Cloister of the Gate; the doors on the opposite side lead to the base of the bell tower and the Old Sacristy. In a small room nearby is a painting by the Mantuan Neoclassical painter Giulio Cesare Arrivabene depicting the episode of the prophet Elijah calling the widow's son back to life; above the access to the Old Sacristy, on the other hand, is a fragment of a leather antependium painted above a metal foil (i.e. a corame), depicting the icon of Mater Gratiae.

For further information click here: Sanctuary bibliography and insights

Santuario delle Grazie
Pick a flower for the Blessed Virgin Mary of Grace