Hidden treasures

The name of the church of the Madonna della Fava in Venice

Local Traditions
SMdellaFava

The name of the church of the Madonna della Fava in Venice

Between the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square in Venice, there is a small eighteenth-century church, named after a funny story: Santa Maria della Fava. The real name is really Lady of Consolation, because it was built in the early sixteenth century in the vicinity of a building where there is a miraculous sacred image on the wall, on which the worshippers could find ‘consolation'.

Le fave dei morti are small round cakes still eaten today and made with almond paste and sometimes with chocolate, which can be found only on the days before 2nd November, the day of commemoration of the dead.

The origin of this cake is related to the centuries old custom, at least in some parts of Italy, of eating fava beans during banquets that were held by the relatives of the deceased immediately after the funeral.

According to an ancient tradition, fava beans were a means of direct communication between the worlds of the dead and the living because they were considered able to transfer in living beings the souls of the departed. In fact, they were present in the funeral ceremonies in Greece, Egypt, Rome and even in India and Peru.

If you found this article interesting and would like to know more about the most curious sides of the city, book a personalized tour of Venice with our guide Francesca, editor of this popular section.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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