Barbone Morosini

Peregrinagio de mi Barbon Moresini al viagio de Jerusalem et altri lochi de Terra Santa (1514)
Barbone Moresini’s Pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other places in the Holy Land (1514)

The merchant Barbone Morosini reached Damascus with Venetian galleys probably for business reasons, and from there he took off on an adventurous journey of faith and devotion in the Holy Land. In July of 1514, he was lodged in the convent of Mount Zion by the Custos Francesco Suriano and the Franciscan friars.
His description of the grotto of Nazareth confirms that, at the beginning of the sixteenth century, the two columns where Mary and the angel stood at the moment of the Annunciation were venerated, and that two altars were on either side, one for Joseph and one for Mary.

on the right there is a cave you descend on the left hand side by perhaps eight steps. At the bottom of the stairs is a space on the left that extends toward east where on the back wall is another stairway with a door covered with rocks. In front of the stairway leading to the venerated place of the annunciation, there is another space that extends toward the north, where upon entering are two columns to the left. The angel and the Virgin Mary stood at the foot of either of these columns when she received the salutation. Beyond the columns, toward north, are the rock-cut dwellings of the Glorious Virgin and of St. Joseph, her venerated husband. In the middle of these, you see an arch vault that does not clearly divide the room, where in the east are two altars in memory of these places, one where the Virgin stayed, and the other for St. Joseph. My estimation of the size of the grotto is about four paces in length by two in width. The other room, between the two stairways, is of a similar size.

Cruciani Libero, Barbone Morosini: pellegrinaggio in Terra Santa (pilgrimage in the Holy Land), in “Studia Orientalia Christiana Collectanea,” vol. 33 (2000), pp. 251-336