I've never been a fan of those concrete shell-like statutettes of Mary some people put on their lawns. I actually never gave them too much thought. In Italy, I have been noticing small shrines built into walls, in buildings, and near doorways. They are often niches, though sometimes they are larger and encased in a small iron fence. I realized those cement ones serve the same purpose.
This is a shrine to Santa Prasedere in her church in Rome. It is very similar to ones I have seen outside buildings. Some altars in chruches are like this too, an encased image, candles, surrounded by a fantastic frame.
Pompei had amazing frecos, many of which had been removed to the National Museum. A few spotty ones remain such as this one, with staute for worship outside a home in the excaved city.
Not too far away in concept is the Alley of Saints in Boston. Not surprisingly, it is in the North End, where many Italian immigrants settled. My grandpa grew up here. My dad and I stumpbled across this alley while wandering around the North End before he took me to the airport so I could fly to Rome.