Do you believe in miracles?
During the plague of 1630, she wanted to protect her neighbors in the Corte Nova in Venice’s Castello district. Watch this video to learn more about what Giovanna did and see where she did it!
I tell the whole story in A Beautiful Woman in Venice, where you can learn more about the capitelli or little altars you see all around Venice. I also found interesting research into the bubonic plague outbreak of 1630-31; about a third of the population was killed off, though many of them actually died of smallpox and even forms of violence.
Giovanni reached out to the Virgin Mary and saints Sebastiano and Rocco to ask for their intercession to save herself and her neighbors from the plague. She did this with a painting, and just last year Save Venice restored the sotoportego and has installed restored paintings in the walkway. Check these out:
And if you’re superstitious, be sure to step on the red stone on the ground. Or wait, don’t! Hmm, the myths seem to disagree if it’s good luck or bad to step on this stone, so I’ll leave you to take your own chances!