The 15th century church of Sant' Agostino is home to one of the most venerated statues in Rome, namely the Madonna del Parto (Madonna of Childbirth), 1521, by the sculptor-cum-architect Jacopo Sansovino (1486-1570).
For centuries, the statue has been visited by mothers-to-be, who have prayed for a safe delivery.
In 1822, Pope Pius VII (r. 1800-1823) granted an indulgence to the faithful who kissed Mary's left foot. The response was so great that the marble foot soon had to be replaced by a silver one.
The Latin inscription above the statue reads (in translation): 'Virgin, Childbirth is Your Glory'.
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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