The Church of Santa Maria Nera2 owes its name to the presence of a black-colored sculpture of the Holy Virgin Mary, made in the 19th century. It is an identical reproduction of Our Lady of Loreto3. Our Lady of Loreto is located inside a Marian shrine, by the same name, in the town of Loreto in the Marche region. Legend says that the Holy House of Mary was transported in flight by angels from Nazareth to Loreto and the shrine was built around it.
In 1662 in Lucca, the Clerks Regular of the Mother of God4 had an exact copy of the Holy House built inside the Romanesque church of Santa Maria Corteorlandini, which is richly decorated with 17th-century frescoes representing scenes from Mary’s life. The 19th-century statue of the ‘black’ Madonna was placed inside the house which stands inside the church, a kind of Chinese boxes or Russian nesting dolls effect.
An intriguing place, off the beaten path, for the faithful and lovers of art.
More from Eleven Unusual Things to See in Lucca:
The Last Supper by Tintoretto in the Cathedral of San Martino
The exterior graffiti on the Church of San Michele
A curious story regarding the tomb of the merchant Tignosini