Navigando intorno all'Elba

Capolivieri, La Madonna delle Grazie by Marcello Venusti

An important oil painting at the Sanctuary of Madonna delle Grazie

On the coast just a few kilometres from Capoliveri on the Island of Elba, there is a religious sanctuary called the Santuario della Madonna delle Grazie. This sanctuary was built in the sixteenth century in a post-Renaissance, almost Baroque style.

In this sanctuary, visitors can admire an image dear to all local inhabitants, Marcello Venusti’s painting of the Madonna del Silenzio. This work of art shows a serene Virgin Mary sitting on a bench and holding the sleeping Baby Jesus in her arms. The child is resting slightly on her right leg and in her left hand she is holding an open bible. Saint Giovanni is shown in the background in the centre asking for silence out of respect of the sleeping child. Saint Giuseppe is also present. This work of art has made the sanctuary into a place of pilgrimage and the chapel is full of ex-voto. The painting is hung above the main altar. Marcello Venusti was a painter active during the Renaissance (1512/5 - 1579). He originally followed the Lombard school of painting before becoming influenced by the Tuscan Renaissance style after coming into contact with Michelangelo.

Legend has is that the local inhabitants of Capoliveri found this painting on the beach. After having taken it to the town, it somehow mysteriously ended up back in the same spot as where it had been found. Nobody had laid hands on it after it was brought to the town. This mystery was deemed a miracle and consequently the chapel and then sanctuary were built. Every year on the 8th December, the town celebrates the Madonna delle Grazie with festivities that continue for 8 days.
A second version of the legend dictates that the canvas was brought to the town by the Saint Mamiliano monks of Montecristo when they decided to build a new monastery here. The painting was supposedly donated to them by Pope Giulio II della Rovere.

Beaches and scenery whose inherent magnetism sways ships
Capoliveri, the main town in the southeastern part of Elba Island, is a charming town perched on terraced ridge of Monte Calamita. Its name and origin date back to the Roman period: Caput Liberi is Latin for Liberus' Hill, meaning sacred to Bacchus, and since ancient times has been a land of vineyards and fine wine. ...