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La Festa della Madonna della Salute

Celebrate the history of Venice with the locals


If you’re in Venice around November 21st, you’ll notice the city almost shuts down for the day. Family, friends and loved ones head to the Grand Canal towards the church of the Madonna della Salute. Here they celebrate Venice’s survival when it was declared plague free by the Doge in 1631.


The church was built by the Doge’s plans and although not directly related to the story of the plague, many consider this a direct representation of his promise of survival and dedication to the Madonna. Locals believe this miraculous escape from the plague was the work of the Virgin Mary’s divine intervention and has since triggered the day of celebration.


The festival is celebrated with a short walk from St Mark’s across a temporary bridge. Groups of people head towards the church to pray to the Virgin Mary for good health. The celebration has become widespread and an estimated 100,000 will be in attendance over the course of the week. Typically, people will buy candles from the nearby market stalls to light in the church for a few minutes to pay their respects.


The festival also sees special food markets serving Castradina made from cabbage, dried mutton and rosemary. You can also find chestnuts, sweets and other delicacies to tickle your tastebuds. A lot of theatres and museums even open their doors for free to the many people who come to Venice over the week.


Not only is the festival a celebration of history, but is also seen as a time to celebrate the culture of Venice, making November one of the ideal times to visit the city.


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