This is called in Furlan an ancone. The word comes from the Greek eikon, like the Italian icona. We don’t refer to an ancone as a small picture of the Virgin or Saints that is kept at home, but as an image, or more images, in a small building like this. The italian word ancona refers to something similar, but only to images kept on the altar of a church (italian synonym is pala d’altare).
This ancone is quite large, having the form of a brick wall aedicule with three niches. Similar aediculae are found along roman roads, dating two thousands years b.p..
An ancone is usually built at crossroads or where a road passes through a mountain pass. In this particular case the place is a sort of small pass on the hills between the Cuâr (Corno) and Judri (Judrio) valleys. The reasons for building such structures are at least two. The first is to protect wayfarers against "Evil". Crossroads are known as places where witches met, and high places are as well used as meeting point for them. This reason mixed with the need of confirming the christianity of places that were still considered sacred by people, even if this were pagan sacred sites. Many sacred buildings in Europe, and so even in Friûl, are on places considered as sacred since more than three thousand years b.p..
The concern of the Church for the pagan culture resistance in this area was great, even if Aquileia was the main christian centre of a wide area since the first centuries a.C.; the more, you ought consider that our ancestors had their own pagan "army against evil", formed by the benandants, referred to as "good wizards" or "good witches". This was of course unacceptable. Well, that’s another story.
Credit goes to Flickr (Cjasar ) for this evil building. Original date: 2008-09-23 06:37:39
Tagged: , Ancone , Eikon , Icona , Aedicule , Edicola , Popular art , Sacred art , Arte popolare , Arte sacra , Bosco Romagno , Prepot , Prepotto , Friûl , Italy