Santa Maria di Portonovo and Tarkovskij’s icon
The beautiful little Romanesque church of Saint Mary in Portonovo, in the province of Ancona, Marche, was very dear to Russian director Andrej Tarkovskij (1932-1986), the man behind cinema masterpieces such as “Andrej Rublëv”, “Stalker”, and “Nostalghia”.
The altar of this 11th-century pearl, built by the Benedictine monks starting in 1034, is decorated by a 1930s’ icon by Russian painter Gregorio Maltzeff.
When Tarkovskij arrived here from Loreto, he entered the small building – perched on a cliff that faces the Adriatic Sea – and was immediately surprised: “All of a sudden I saw an image of Our Lady of Vladimir on the altar… Incredible! To find an orthodox icon inside the church of a catholic country, just as I was regretting not having had the chance to pray in Loreto. Isn’t that a miracle?”
In his diaries, the Russian artist wrote many times about the icon kept in this wonderful corner of the Conero Riviera, remembering “the trepid sweetness that I felt, deep in my soul, as if I was impatient for some joyous event that was inevitably about to occur.”
A beautiful feeling we hope we can all share.