Romite's Madonna has lost her face
Even the small marble Madonna from the 17th century, located in the sotoportego de le Romite, turns Her face away from the indignity of the present Venice inhabitants.
One can image the care taken from the sculptor in order to set his work on that block of marble.
It was not indeed a first quality stone, however in those times the sculpture in the dark of the arcade was probably seeming a minor work, a work done cheaply commissioned maybe from a member of the Carità Confraternity.
The crystal calcite vein was showy, and the skill of the stonecutter was able to set it on a plane parallel to the face but hidden behind the line of the chin. After the finishing of the work the artist was probably pleased with the defect of the stone fully invisible in the twylight of the niche.
Yet by now we know very well how those defects of the stones, once unimportant, became fatal under the effect of an invisible and inexorable enemy.
The sulphurous, sulphuric and nitric acids, produced in the athmosphere by the emissions of the diesel engines, are extremely greedy of crystal calcium carbonate (the calcite vein).
These acids, indeed, attack all the kind of building stones, but when they meet crystal layers of calcium carbonate their dissolving effect is complete and prompt.
We have collected evidences of this phenomenon in hundreds photos and in movies by tens, with articles on the column halved lengthwise in fondamenta del Fontegheto and on those fallen from Rialto Bridge and from other banisters; we can observe it in all the stones of this city.
Today it is the turn of this small, innermost "Madonnina", whose disfigured and detached face still keep an expression of piercing sadness.
The Mother of Our Lord is looking away from this city. We'll be sorry if we shall not be able to promptly return in the dignity of Her Grace.
This city was not born, nor it is adaptable to the actual occupants, materialistic, sluggish and greedy.
Other kind of people the Venetians are, but they actually sleep under the spell of already rotten sirens, always ready to justify the stench of the corruption with a thousand artifices and concealments.
The make-up of the luxury can cheat the eyes, but the leprosy which spreads under that rouge will not be misleaded by any hypocrisy.
The pious citizen exerciseing the office of the sacred image caretaker, which was so kind to find time to come and open the small gate to allow these photos, is now searching somebody to sponsor the restauration of the manufact. He might find him, but we all are aware about what remains of our erratic sculptures after the intervention of the modern "restorers".
And who, and how, will make amends for the insult to the Virgin?