An 18th century edicola or small shrine, il Tempietto del Carmelo, in the Ghetto area of Rome has been restored to its former splendour.
The shrine was originally built by a grocer in 1759 and attached to his house. It contained a painting of the Madonna known as the Madonna del Carmelo. The charming semi-elliptical building, with paired Doric-inspired travertine columns and wrought iron grills and gates, fell into disrepair, the picture of the Madonna and the small internal altar disappeared and the building was roughly enclosed to become a cobblers workshop, which is what it remained until the 1980s.
Over the past 20 years the lead on the roof eroded, infiltrations of rainwater ruined the domed interior, with its stucco clouds and cherubs, and the wrought-iron work rusted. Now all has been put to rights and two works of art, one by Gianalo Mabunda, from Mozambique, and another by Ivan Barfalante, an Italian from the Abruzzo region, have been put on display in the shrine. It is hoped that the restored building will be a symbol of peace, contemplation and reconciliation in this historic area of the city that has witnessed much suffering and intolerance.
The shrine was inaugurated in the presence of members of the ministry of the national heritage, responsible for the restoration, city councillors, chief rabbi of Rome Riccardo Di Segni and Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the pontifical council for Christian unity and head of the Vatican commission for relations with Jews.