The November 21: Feast of the Madonna della Salute

saluteThe celebrations for the Madonna della Salute was established in memory of a terrible plague, that hit Venice during 1630-31 biennium, and the subsequent vow by the Doge to obtain the intercession of the Virgin Mary.

To date, thousands of people goes on a procession on November 21 to the high altar of the massive Salute Church to honour the age-old bond of gratitude that binds the city to the Virgin Mary.

Around the mid-seventeenth century, northern Italy suffered one of the most serious epidemics of plague. Particularly affected the city of Mantova.
The Dukes of Gonzaga, in a desperate attempt to save the city, asked the help of Venice (which is linked by Mantova town with a brotherhood of water and art), with the request to send food and  aids by river.
The Serenissima sudden decided to offer its aid , and hosted some plague affected nobles on the island of San Servolo, then uninhabited. One of the carpenters who worked  to built the recover become a vehicle of the infection through which the epidemic spread  over Venice.

The infection hits Venice rapidly and uncontrolled, after the death of the artisan and his family, after only two week the death were hundreds and hundreds throughout the city.
On the end of winter is the same city that faces the danger of being completely deleted.
The only way left seemed to be the faith in god and in particular Mother Mary there where organized procession attended by survivors: about 10,000 souls running around St. Mark Square for three days and three nights with torches and votive statues.
Its then pronounced a solemn vow that once the city is saved a temple of unseen dimension and beauty will be built in honour of  Madonna.
And once again the sky seems to come to the aid of the Republic.

The following weeks  a slow  regression of the infection was notice and on the following two weeks the plague was finally defeated.
In respect of the vow, a public competition amongst architect and engineer prized young Architect flagship of the new Baroque style.

The building has been completed in about twenty years of work and consecrated on November 21, 1687, the day become the official day of Madonna della Salute.
This day thousands of people walk over the floating bridge to peregrinate and pay homage to mother mary, the tradition wants that they light up a candle and pray for their health.


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