Santa Maria della Salute in Venice is a spectacular temple. We are talking about a unique place in the world that rises in the Campo della Salute area, in Dorsoduro, at the entrance to the Grand Canal. It was built in the 17th century in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving the city from the plague and it is one of the must-sees if you go to Venice. Will you join us to meet her?
The plague in Venice, the origin of Santa Maria della Salute
As we have already mentioned, the origin of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice lies in a plague epidemic that devastated the city in 1630. Apparently, the epidemic was able to enter the city of canals because of the Duke of Mantua.
He had been admitted to the Lazzaretto Vecchio, a hospital where the sick were treated and which was located on a small island in the Venice lagoon. During his internment he had contact with a carpenter and he spread the disease. That was how the population of Venice became infected. 80,000 citizens of the city died.
As an attempt to stop the plague, the patriarch of Venice, Giovanni Tiepolo, promised that he would build this church if the epidemic ended. A promise to which he added the fact that every year, on the date the plague ceased, the city’s Senate would go to church to thank him for freeing the entire population of Venice.
The church of Santa Maria della Salute
The church of Santa María de la Salute is a baroque architectural work of absolute beauty. It is a temple with a central floor plan in the shape of an octagon surrounded by smaller chapels.. With rich white Istrian stone facades, its arches and oculi create an impressive play of chiaroscuro that gives the entire building great volume.
The works were carried out between 1631 and 1687, following the project of Baldassare Longhena. It is a beautiful temple that is covered by two domesone of them of extraordinary dimensions and surrounded by elegant and enormous scrolls.
Its interior is much more sober than the exterior. In it, the main altar stands out, where the sculptural group that represents the Virgin with the Child is located. It is a beautiful sculpture made in Crete and was taken to Venice when the island fell into Turkish hands. The person in charge of carrying it was Francesco Morosini, doge of the city.
Also, Inside you can see three paintings by Titian: The Death of Abelthe Sacrifice of Abraham and David Y Goliath. They are three impressive frescoes that, however, were not considered adequate for their time. There are also several paintings in the sacristy whose author is Tintoretto. Of these, the most impressive is The wedding at Cana.
The Feast of the Madonna della Salute
In commemoration of the salvation of the city, on November 21 of each year in Venice the Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated. It is a party that consists of crossing a bridge that connects the Plaza de San Marcos with that of the basilica and that previously was built by means of boats.
Today, this bridge is still mobile and thousands of pilgrims pass through it, going to Santa Maria della Salute to light a candle and pray for their health or that of their loved ones. Candy and toy stalls are set up around the square to set the scene for one of the most popular parties in the city of canals.
The visit to the basilica
The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute in Venice open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.. Its entrance is free, with the exception of the sacristy, since to visit it you have to pay a small entrance fee that is used to cover the maintenance costs of the temple.
To get to the basilica take Vaporetto line 1 and get off at the Salute stop. You will go through its canals aboard its unusual public transport and you will be ecstatic before so much beauty. Without a doubt, Santa Maria della Salute is one of the most beautiful places in Venice. Are you going to miss it?