The Oratorio del Caravita, which stands in the shadow of the church of Sant' Ignazio di Loyola, is home to a pair of beautiful holy water stoups. Look closely at either of them and you will see a crab clutching a crucifix in its claws.
The 17th century oratory is dedicated to St Francis Xavier and the crab and the crucifix refer to a story that the saint was caught in a storm when travelling by boat to Malacca. He threw his crucifix into the sea, while praying for the storm to abate. When he finally landed on the beach, he spotted a crab holding his crucifix.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England. Since 2001 I have lived in Italy, where I run private walking tours of Rome.
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