Regular readers might remember the enigmatic and gorgeous Saint Victoria (or Saint Vittoria; seen above), a life-sized saint I stumbled upon in the church of Santa Maria della Vittoria directly across from Bernini’s tourist-drawing Ecstasy of Saint Theresa on a recent trip to Rome. This rose-crowned and slashed-neck lady had caused me no little consternation; Was she waxwork? Effigy? Reliquary? Or some combination of the above? Sadly, churches do not have informational panels explaining such things, and I was left only to wonder as to her history and makeup.
This figure, one of the cities least known but most macabre sights, appears to be a statue. But closer inspection reveals something far more spine chilling. When first you look at this, you think it must be a waxwork. But when you look a little closer, into the slightly open mouth you see, through the open lips of a skeleton. And if you look at the hands on the outside, they appear to be wax. But look inside. You can see not just the skeletal bones of the real hand of the human body but actually the dry skin there too. This is the body of Saint Victoria.
Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith