Here is one of Rome’s wonderful Madonnelle (“little Madonnas”) – devotional images of the Blessed Virgin Mary that are on the sides and corners of buildings. This one is located on a side street in the area of the Vatican, and dates from the year 1665. It depicts the Immaculate Conception. Beneath it are the words “Sub Tuum Praesidium”, which refer to the oldest recorded prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary (see below).
As you can see, if you click to enlarge, this image has been enriched over the years with a crown, earrings, and ex votos (silver hearts and a rosary).
The prayer that I mentioned is the “Sub Tuum Praesidium” (Latin for “Under Thy Protection”). It is the oldest-known prayer to the Blessed Virgin Mary:
We fly to your protection, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but from all dangers deliver us always, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.
There is much, much more to be said about these images that are to be found all over Rome!