On November 21, Venetians celebrate Festa della Salute, or the Feast of Our Lady of Health. It's one of the most famous Venice annual events, along with the Venice Carnival and others. On this day, the city celebrates the Venetians' sufferings and tenacity. 

The history behind Festa della Salute Venice

Like Festa del Redentore, Festa della Salute celebrates the end of the plague. The only difference is that it takes place during winter. The bubonic plague of the 17th century killed about 100 000 Venetians. Since medicine seemed useless at the time, Venetians turned to religion. Ten thousand survivors organised a procession. They walked through St Mark's Square for three days and nights, carrying torches and statues. In the end, there was a decision to build a church of unseen size and beauty if the city survived the plague. The incredible Santa Maria della Salute took twenty years to build. It was an exemplary model of Baroque architecture, consecrated on November 21, 1687. 

Why you should experience Festa della Salute

Today Festa della Salute is still essential among Venice annual events. On the festival day, a bridge goes across the Grand Canal. It stretches from Campo Santa Maria del Giglio to Santa Maria della Salute. The traditional procession, led by the Archbishop, starts at St Mark's Square and ends at the church. Along the route, street vendors sell sweets, candy floss, and candles to light in the church. On this day, Venetians celebrate with a traditional dish called castradina. It's a cabbage and mutton stew, a Venetian delicacy cooked on Festa della Salute. Children also adore this festival because of all the sweets and toys on sale. Visiting Venice during Festa della Salute is a perfect way to experience the locals' life and traditions.

Things to do in the area

Santa Maria della Salute stands in Dorsoduro. It's a Venetian neighbourhood known for many Venice museums and galleries. Our interactive Venice map will help you effortlessly find them all. At the foot of the church, you'll find Punta della Dogana, a Venice modern art museum. In addition, you can visit the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Accademia Gallery. To explore Venice museums further, stop at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. The nearby island of Giudecca is another fantastic way to explore Venice. There you'll find one of the finest Venice churches, the Redentore.