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Santa Maria della Salute

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Dorsoduro, 1, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Ambra
Local tour guide
"Visit Santa Maria della Salute in the late afternoon to enjoy a lesser crowded experience and a stunning sunset against the grand baroque architecture. For an even more serene visit, attend the Vespers service; not only will you be immersed in spiritual ambiance, but you’ll also enjoy the church's art and architecture without the tourist throng."

What is Santa Maria della Salute?

Santa Maria della Salute, commonly known simply as La Salute, is one of the most iconic landmarks in Venice. Situated at the tip of the Punta della Dogana, it proudly watches over the Grand Canal, marking the entrance to the basin of San Marco. This grand baroque church has been a symbol of hope and gratitude for Venetians since its consecration. It's not only a religious structure but also an artistic masterwork with a wealth of history and tradition anchored in its foundations.

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As a structure that has watched over Venice for centuries, La Salute is much more than its panoramic dome and inviting façade. Its distinctive octagonal design and the sheer wealth of artworks by prominent Venice painters nestled within its walls render it truly unique. It's the kind of place that breathes the soul of Venice, intertwining spiritual sanctity with artistic splendor.

History of Santa Maria della Salute

The history of Santa Maria della Salute is a poignant tale of calamity, faith, and resilience. It was built in the 17th century as a votive offering for the city's deliverance from a devastating outbreak of the plague. Such outbreaks were frequent in Europe at the time, and Venice was no exception. The Senate vowed to build a church to the Blessed Virgin Mary if the city were spared.

The plague of 1630 claimed nearly a third of Venice's 150,000 inhabitants, and in fervent gratitude for the end of this crisis, construction of the church began. The project was entrusted to the young architect Baldassare Longhena, who was only 32 at the time and destined to spend the rest of his life seeing the project through to its completion. It took more than 50 years to build Santa Maria della Salute, and it stands today as a monument to those lost to the plague and a symbol of Venetians' endurance through hardship.

Longhena's design incorporates symbolic elements reflective of Venice's maritime power, with volutes that resemble rolling waves and a dome that represents the celestial sphere. Each year on November 21, the city commemorates the church's completion with the Festa della Madonna della Salute, where Venetians give thanks to the Virgin Mary and remember the ancestors who endured the plague.

Why is Santa Maria della Salute Important?

Santa Maria della Salute holds a special place in the heart of Venetians, representing not only a physical landmark but also an enduring emblem of deliverance and hope. It's a testament to the historical resilience of Venice—a city that has faced and overcome adversity time and again. Besides its historical and emotional significance, La Salute is aesthetically important, showcasing the creativity and technical expertise of the Venetian Baroque period.

The church also houses an incredible collection of art, most notably several masterpieces by Titian, who was personally affected by the plague, losing his son to the deadly disease. The intensity of the art here bears the weight of the personal tragedies that befell the community. For art historians, enthusiasts, and the spiritually inclined alike, Santa Maria della Salute is a monumental presence, both architecturally and culturally.

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Its very location plays an integral role in the urban fabric of Venice, acting as a visual full stop at the end of the Grand Canal's sweeping "S" curve—a final flourish on one of the most spectacular urban waterways in the world. Additionally, the church's yearly festival, Festa della Madonna della Salute, connects current generations to their ancestors, commemorating a shared historical memory with a procession over a specially constructed pontoon bridge across the Grand Canal.

Things to Do & See at Santa Maria della Salute

Visitors to La Salute have an array of experiences to delve into. You can admire the church's striking exterior from various points along the Grand Canal, especially breathtaking during sunrise or sunset. Entering the church, you're greeted by the awe-inspiring grandeur of its interior. Explore the vast central nave, illuminated by natural light, and view the remarkable details of Longhena's architectural mastery.

The church's altars are festooned with works by renowned artists, including the aforementioned pieces by Titian. Don't miss the chance to see the altar of the Holy Sacrament and the sacristy, where more treasures lie. For those with an interest in the deep, moving stories behind the art, it's a place where every canvas and sculpture speaks volumes of Venice's past struggles and victories.

Attend Mass and experience the spiritual atmosphere that the church continues to foster after centuries of service. The area surrounding La Salute, particularly the Punta della Dogana, offers some of the most impressive panoramic views of Venice, with the Basin of San Marco spread before you, and the majestic sight of the Doge's Palace across the water. Indeed, Santa Maria della Salute is a small tour within itself, a capsule of the spirit of Venice awaiting your discovery.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Santa Maria della Salute?

Santa Maria della Salute is a historic Roman Catholic church and architectural landmark in Venice, Italy, known for its distinctive Baroque dome and its prominent location at the entrance to the Grand Canal.

Why was the Santa Maria della Salute built?

The Santa Maria della Salute was built as a dedication to the Virgin Mary for delivering the city of Venice from a devastating outbreak of the plague in the 17th century. It stands as a symbol of thanks and hope.

Can you visit the interior of the Santa Maria della Salute?

Yes, visitors can enter the Santa Maria della Salute to appreciate its art and architecture. Inside, you will find numerous works of art, including paintings by Titian.

Is there an admission fee to enter the Santa Maria della Salute?

Entrance to the main part of the church is typically free, but there may be a small fee to visit certain areas or special exhibits within the Santa Maria della Salute.

What are the opening hours for Santa Maria della Salute?

The church is usually open daily to visitors, though the hours can vary. It is generally open from morning until early evening, but it's advisable to check the latest opening hours before your visit.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Dorsoduro, 1, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps