Il Gioiello del Re Sole (The Jewel of the Sun King)
As every year on the morning of 10 September from 10.00 to 12.30 , Santa Maria della Vita hosts and exhibits a precious jewel: the Jewel of the Sun King.
The small but very precious jewel is formed by an oval-shaped metal plate on which a miniature representation of King Louis XIV painted on enamel rests, surrounded by a gilded silver frame on which a double row of diamonds of different sizes is set. The jewel was donated by the Sun King to the famous Bolognese historian and scholar Carlo Cesare Malvasia as a sign of gratitude for having dedicated his work Felsina Pittrice to him in 1678.
Malvasia, in turn, through his will written on December 22, 1692, made heir of “the most precious thing I have in this world” the Archconfraternity of Santa Maria della Vita, with the explicit obligation to expose it to the public on 10 September of each year in memory of a healing obtained by him through the intercession of the Madonna della Vita, an image that remained mysteriously hidden for a few centuries under a layer of whitewash and re-emerged in the light, precisely, on 10 September 1614 in occasion of a general cleaning of the church.
It is a rare object of unique value due to the important historical memory it contains.