The Madonna della Salute is the solemn feast, which takes place on the day of the presentation of Mary at the Temple (November 21), and which began, by Popular will, with the presence of the Doge Marcantonio Giustinian, already from the 1681, even before the church was Consecrated.
The recurrence originates from the great epidemic of bubonic plague that struck the whole of northern Italy between 1630 and 1631. This is the same epidemic also described by Alessandro Manzoni in Promessi Sposi.

At the climax of the epidemic, in the absence of other solutions, the Government of the Republic organized a procession of prayer to Madonna, attended for three days and for three nights the entire surviving population. On October 22, 1630 the Doge made a solemn vow to erect a temple that was particularly grandiose and solemn, if the city had survived the disease.

A few weeks after the procession, the epidemic first underwent a abrupt slowdown and then slowly regress until finally extinguished in November 1631. The final budget was estimated at nearly 47,000 deaths in the only city territory (over a quarter of the population) and almost 100,000 in the territory of the Dogado. The government decreed then to repeat every year, as a sign of Thanksgiving, the procession in honor of the Madonna called since then of “health”.

Even today it is graced to Our Lady for having interceded and saved the Venetians from the plague, with a pilgrimage that has as its goal the Church of health. Throughout the day, in the basilica, kept open without interruption, are celebrated continuously masses and rosaries, with a continuous influx of the faithful. To facilitate the pilgrimage, is erected on the grand Canal a temporary wooden bridge that connects the Punta della Dogana with Santa Maria del Giglio. In the City of Venice on November 21 is still a festive day.


  • Some curiosities:


  • The plant of the church, according to the same Longhena, is shaped as a crown to be dedicated to the Queen of heaven.
  • The marble statue placed on the lantern of the great cupola represents the Madonna, Venetianly dressed as “Captain from the sea” while holding in hand the stick of command of the Venetian fleet.
  • A self-portrait by Tiziano old can be seen in the Evangelist St. Matthew (“Mission of the Holy Spirit above the apostles”)
  • In Venice on this festive day we eat a typical dish: the Castradina, the smoked and salted meat of mutton. And the reason that we eat this food is in homage to the Dalmatian, who during the period of isolation for the Great Plague of the 1630, were the only ones to replenish the city food. The Venetians for that year ate only mutton meat that they had learned to preserve with the curing.