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festa della Madonna della Salute in venice, italy

The Church of Madonna della Salute, VeniceThis religious celebration is very popular in Venice; it dates back to the plague which raged in Venice as a result of the war against Austria in 1630. The Senate and Doge Nicolò Contarini decided to resort to the Virgin Mary's intercession, vowing to build a temple in her name as soon as the scourge had ceased.
In November 1631, the plague finally over, the Government made haste to fulfil the vow. Construction began on the temple, designed by the architect Baldassare Longhena; it was completed 56 years later and solemnly dedicated to the Madonna della Salute (Our Lady of Good Health). On 21 November every year this feast is celebrated with a procession, led by the Patriarch, that leaves St. Mark's and crosses a pontoon bridge across the Grand Canal to come to a solemn end at the Salute Church. The Venetians go in their thousands to seek pardon in front of the Madonna, radiant among hundreds of candles brought by the faithful themselves. Along the way and in front of the church there are stalls which sell candles and sweets of every kind.

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