Salute Venice “Madonna della Salute” is a Basilica in Venice built near Punta della Dogana which is projected onto the Basin of San Marco and the Grand Canal. A masterpiece of Venetian baroque architecture, was designed by the architect Baldassare Longhena from 1631 to 1681 as a votive offering to the Madonna by the Venetian population for the liberation of the plague between 1630 and 1631 that killed about 80,000 Venetians and 600,000 in the territories of the Serenissima.
Among the authorities, also Patriarch Giovanni Tiepolo and the Doge Contarini Nicoletto with most of his family died. Many were the Venetians who moved to the countryside hoping to escape to the disease.
The plague began to spread from Campo San Vio throughout the city by a resident carpenter who came into contact with the Ambassador of the Count of Mantua as the carrier of the plague as he was assigned to provide shelters for housing authorities. The escalation was devastating, after a next week, the carpenter and all his family died with the succession of dozens of deaths in the district and, after two weeks, all over the city.
Despite the searching for a cure and the rich rewards handed out to those who had been able to stem the epidemic, a cure was never found. Famous is the proclamation that ordered, to anyone who felt the symptoms of evil, to urinate immediately and drinking some sort of potion.
Salute Venice for the end of the plague
The Doge of Venice Nicoletto Contarini, October 22, 1630, made a solemn vow to erect a church dedicated to the Blessed Virgin for the cessation of the plague. On October 26, 1630 in Piazza San Marco, the Doge Nicolo Contarini, the clergy and all the people gathered in prayer.
The following week the unfolding of the procession, the epidemic diminished and, in the next two weeks, finished completely. In accordance with the vow, a competition for the design of the votive church was immediately launched, and after many discussions in order to find out the more appropriate building site, Punta della Dogana da Mar was chosen, where a group of unsanitary dwellings vehicle of the outbreak had been demolished.
On 21st November each year, day of the consecration of the temple, “Madonna della Salute” is celebrated – in which, the Venetians, by crossing a bridge of boats prepared for the occasion, joining St. Mark’s Basilica to pay homage to the Blessed Virgin for the cessation of the plague widely described in “the Betrothed” by Alessandro Manzoni. The Feast of the Redeemer and the feast of Madonna della Salute, are the two most loved holidays by the Venetian people.