Santa Maria della Salute - Santa Maria della Salute information and pictures

Santa Maria della Salute is a Baroque architectural masterpiece and one of the largest churches in Venice. It is a basilica and a Roman Catholic Church found in the Dorsoduro sestiere. Upon entering the Grand Canal Santa Maria della Salute is the first major structure the traveler comes upon.

The basilica is dedicated to Our Lady of Health for saving Venice from the plague epidemic that took the lives of some 46,000 people. Processions to churches dedicated to San Lorenzo Giustiniani and San Rocco, prayers, and displays of the sacrament were held but failed to save the city. Thanks to the divine intervention of La Salute (Virgin Mary), Venetians survived another plague, and the basilica was built in her honor. Construction works began in 1631.

Santa Maria della Salute is a octagonal building with two bell-towers and two domes, built of marmorino and Istrian stone. The façade is decorated with the figures of Saint Theodore, Saint George, the Prophets, and the Evangelists. The statue of Virgin Mary stands at the apex of the pediment. Designed by Longhena, the high altar was brought from Crete and bears a Byzantine Madonna and Child. The interior has an octagonal shape and 8 radiating chapels. The basilica hearkens to Byzantine designs and Marian symbolism and is decorated with Baroque masterpieces and paintings of Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, and David and Goliath.

Santa Maria della Salute is recognized for its exterior of more than 125 statues, scrolls, and volutes. The basilica had a large influence on many architects of the time. Buildings modeled after the Salute include the Katarina Church in Stockholm and the Glogówko basilica, built by Pompeo Ferrari, Jan Catenazzi, and Jerzy Catenazzi. The dome of the church was an important addition to the skyline of Venice and became a symbol of the city. It has inspired artists like John Singer Sargent, J. M. W. Turner, and Francesco Guardi.

Today, the basilica is a popular place where free concerts are held. Many churches in Venice host concerts, but most charge admission. The churches that attract many visitors are the Basilica San Marco, San Giorgio Maggiore, and San Simeone Piccolo.

The Festa della Salute is held on November 21 and for 10 days, pilgrims gather in the basilica. The origins of the festa go back to the plague of 1629 – 1631, when many towns in Northern Italy were affected. Today, over 100,000 people join the procession and cross the bridge of boats.

The Feast Day of the Madonna evokes strong feelings, with thousands of people giving thanks to Virgin Mary. On this day, Venetians prepare a mutton-based traditional dish, called castradina. The stalls or bancarelle sell balloons, toys, sweets, and snow-sugar. Colorful stalls offer candy floss, toffee apples, doughnuts, and caramelised fruit on stick. These are attractive to kids, and visitors and pilgrims stop at the stands on their way to the Salute. The procession to Santa Maria della Salute continues from morning to night, escorted by traffic police.

Where is Santa Maria della Salute: Campo della Salute, Dorsoduro district

How to get to Santa Maria della Salute: By vaporetto- Salute stop

Opening Hours: Daily form 9AM to noon and 3PM to 5:30PM

Santa Maria della Salute Venice
Santa Maria della Salute Venice
Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, view from The Campanile at San Marco Square

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User Comments about Santa Maria della Salute

Linda J. says:
List the location of the front of the building being north of south, and the sides east and west. Open the church door from the Lagoon and take a picture from the Lagoon with the double-doors open