Sprinkled around town are numerous affreschi sul muro (frescoes on the wall), or "Madonna spots" as I call them, on corners of buildings. I have noticed that of the ones that I like, the Madonna is always present. I have, however, a few favorites, like the one on via degli Alfani at the corner of Borgo Pinti, which is shown here in a picture I took of it today. I used to walk past it to go to my old Internet Point on via degli Alfani, but now I walk past it once in awhile when I go toward Santa Croce or to the palestra (gym).
I have asked many of my friends what these affreschi are really called, and it seems that there is no specific term for them, so unfortunately, I have to use a simple description for these extraordinary works of art scattered throughout Florence.
I am always intrigued by these affreschi and today when I walked past it, I took a closer took of it. I'm guilty of usually just glancing at them and walking right on by. When I looked at it a little closer, I saw that on both sides under the affresco, which came from the antica chiesa di San Paolo, there was a text called "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann. I expected it to be quite religious seeing as where it was posted, but it ended up being spiritual and not specific to any religion. It talked about always telling the truth, being yourself, and finding happiness.
I read it in its entirety, and here's my favorite part: Tu sei un figlio dell'universo, non meno degli alberi e delle stelle; tu hai diritto ad essere qui. E che ti sia chiaro o no, non vi è dubbio che l'universo ti si stia schiudendo come dovrebbe. (You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And if it's clear to you or not, there is no doubt that the universe is opening up to you as it should.)
As I stood there reading the text, a few other people stopped to read it as well. It made me smile that maybe at least one other person was interested in this affresco as I was and read the same text.
A long time ago, I had an idea of taking a picture of each one of these affreschi sul muro, noting its location and finding out its history, but then I began to see so many that I thought it would end up being an overwhelming endeavor. It'd be quite interesting though. I'd love to know who initially thought of putting these affreschi outside buildings and what their significance is. I'll continue my search and see if I can find someone who can tell me more about my "Madonna spots."
NOTE: I did find out that people created these spots for prayer, but what is interesting is that they are generally at corners and not just on or in buildings.
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