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Visit Venice

Chiesa Santa Maria della Salute

 

St. Mary of Health Church (La Salute) stands on a piece of land protruding into the lagoon between the San Marco Basin and the Grand Canal. This is one of the plague churches constructed to give thanks for the passing of a terrible plague. In addition to commissioning the construction of this votive church the city's senate also took upon themselves to attend mass at the church annually for the Feast of the Presentation of the Virgin on November 21st. This tradition is still upheld when a special pontoon bridge is constructed cross the Grand Canal to allow a procession to travel from San Marco district to the church. Baldassare Longhena designed the baroque-style church in 1631 and it was completed in 1681.

The octagonal shaped building has two large domes and two bell towers. The façade has a high arched entrance way lined with double pilaster columns supporting a pediment topped with a figure of Mary. Between the columns on each side are statues of the apostles.

The church interior is also octagonal with chapels radiating off of a central space through high archways. The cavernous church represents a womb and the dome above represents the virgin's crown. The church is full of symbols of the sacred Virgin. Luca Giordano designed two of the altars and Titian painted a piece above a third altar. Other pieces by Titian in the church include St. Mark Enthroned with Saints Cosmas as well as the altar piece in the sacristy and ceiling frescoes. Other altar pieces include a sculpture by Flemish artist Josse de Corte. In the sacristy is Tintoretto's Marriage at Cana considered to be one of his best works. The Madonna and Child which adorns the high altar is a Byzantine sculpture from the 1300s-1400s brought to the city from Crete in 1670.
 

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