Feast of “Our Lady of Good Health” in Venice: a Venetian Folkloristic Event

If you’re planning a tourist week-end in Venice, November 21st will be the perfect day for you!

As every year in fact, on this date, the Festa della Madonna della Salute (“Feast of our Lady of Good Health”) is celebrated, an ancient Venetian tradition which dates back even to the middle of the 17th century.

During that period, a terrible plague was raging and quite completely destroying the population of Serenissima. The despair was total. Hence, the city decided to seek the Virgin Mary’s help, solemnly vowing to built the most magnificent temple ever existed if the scourge had ended.

Not even a month after, the plague was over, and Venice respected its promise. The Church of Our Lady of Health was built, designed by the architect Baldassare Longhena, located on Punta della Dogana – directly overlooked on Grand Canal, and considered as one of the best examples of Baroque style in Europe.

The temple was consecrated on November 21st, and from that moment every year Venetians – doesn’t matter if believers or not – renew this bond of gratitude and devotion to the Virgin Mary with a celebration which mixes holy and profane, and which still maintains the flavour of the genuine Venice.

A floating pontoon made of boats crosses the Grand Canal and avoids pilgrims to easily arrive to the Basilica, in which masses are continuously celebrated, while the surroundings are full of stalls on which candles are sold together with sweets and toys for children. In the houses, Venetians prepare and eat the famous “castradina“, a typical dish made with mutton meat.

The last editions of the Feast of Good Health had appeal on tourists too, who were attracted by its peculiar atmosphere made of history, folklore, joy and “real Venetian mood”.

You’ll be surely captured too!

You can also find further information about other interesting locations and events in Venice on www.aboutvenice.org.

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