<p>The tiny town of Loreto in the Marche region of Italy was firmly established as a place of pilgrimage by the fifteenth century. Pilgrims came to visit the ‘santa casa’, the holy house of the Virgin Mary, brought from Palestine by angels in the thirteenth century, according to legend, and eventually deposited on this out-of-the-way hilltop. This brief printed pamphlet is a rare example of the kind of pilgrim souvenir that a visitor to the site might acquire for a small sum from a local vendor. As well as retelling the history of the holy house, the pamphlet could act as a form of “mental pilgrimage”, to be brought home for those who could not visit the site in person. The ownership inscription on the frontispiece in an early sixteenth-century hand helps to make clear the value of this kind of item to its owner.</p> <p>Dr Abigail Brundin</p> <p>This item is part of the <a href='http://www.fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk/madonnasandmiracles'>Madonnas & Miracles exhibition</a> at the Fitzwilliam Museum, 7th March-4th June 2017</p>
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