At the sanctuary devoted to the Maria Santissima di Gulfi in Chiarmonte Gulfi (Ragusa Province), pilgrims offered heart ex-votos to the Virgin Mother. Ex-votos are iconographic body parts or other symbols that are given to the Madonna (That is, in this case. At other sacred sites, ex-votos would be offered to the divinity or saint celebrated there.) as gratitude for healing or grace received.
Those pictured here represent ailments of the heart (Feeling broken hearted, anyone?).
Ex-votos are very common in Sicily. The term ex-voto is an abbreviation for the Latin term “ex voto suscepto,” or “vow undertaken.” Ex-votos also act as a testimonial to other pilgrims seeking healing or grace.