Santa Maria della Salute, Venice

Santa Maria della Salute, Venice (must see)

San Marco may be Venice's most famous church by name, but Santa Maria della Salute may well be its most famous by image and silhouette! Commonly known simply as La Salute, this grand historic church is largely recognized as the pinnacle of the city's Baroque movement.

La Salute is part of the Gesuati parish and is the most recent of the so-called “plague” churches. In the early 1630s, Venice was devastated by a plague that exterminated nearly 100,000 people, roughly one-third of the lagoon’s population. As a votive offering for deliverance from this pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Good Health (or Deliverance) which means “Salute” in Italian. Resting on a platform of more than 100,000 wooden piles, the church was designed in the then fashionable Baroque style by Baldassare Longhena, who dedicated half a century to working on this project and lived just long enough to see it finished in 1681.

Surmounted by a great dome that soon became emblematic of the city, the basilica makes for an interesting visit: it houses a small art gallery in its sacristy, which includes a Marriage Feast of Cana by Tintoretto, along with the allegorical ceiling paintings by Titian and a highly symbolic high altar where the Virgin and Child rescue Venice (depicted as a kneeling young woman) from the plague (depicted as an old woman).

Each year on November 21st, a pontoon bridge spans the Grand Canal to the church for a religious procession commemorating the deliverance of Venice from the plague. Far from a minor event in the Venetian calendar, this procession turns the church into a pilgrimage site – and admittedly very scenic one at that, since the La Salute stands right at the mouth of the Grand Canal and the visitors can get great shots all around.

Whenever you choose to visit, do get your tickets in advance to skip the long lines. Once inside, you can treat yourself to a unique view of the adjoining plaza from the balcony and, perhaps, also a 30-minute organ recital after the service... so do check the events program in advance – and enjoy!

Tip:
Bring a drink with you as there are hardly any cafes around.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 9am-12pm / 3-5:30pm
During festive Masses, times may be subject to change

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Venice, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Santa Maria della Salute on Map

Sight Name: Santa Maria della Salute
Sight Location: Venice, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Venice, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Create Your Own Walk in Venice

Creating your own self-guided walk in Venice is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Grand Canal Walking Tour

Grand Canal Walking Tour

The main channel in Venice, the Grand Canal snakes in an "S" shape through the center of the city, dividing its main districts. On both sides of the Grand Canal are the most beautiful buildings dating from the 12th to the 18th centuries that tell the story of a thousand years of Venetian splendor. While one can view the buildings from water buses, this self guided walk offers the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Venice Introduction Walk

Venice Introduction Walk

Although most experts agree that the Venetian lagoon emerged nearly 6,000 years ago, the area of today's Venice remained mostly uninhabited, except for a small population of fishermen, up until the 5th century AD when the hordes of Gothic barbarians, looting their way into Rome, drove many a people away from their homes on the mainland to take refuge on the coastal Venetian islands.

Those...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 Km or 2.9 Miles
Around Rialto Bridge 1

Around Rialto Bridge 1

The Rialto area first appeared in documents dating back to the 9th century. It was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1514; the only structure left standing was the church of San Giacomo di Rialto. Today Rialto is a busy shopping district with a daily vegetable and fish market, several historic sights, plus a wide variety of shopping and dining options. Part 1 of the Rialto Bridge walk takes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.7 Km or 0.4 Miles
Jewish Ghetto Tour

Jewish Ghetto Tour

Founded in 1516, the Jewish Ghetto in Venice was the oldest of its kind in Europe. At the time, Venice received order from the Pope to expel all Jews from the city, but the Venetian government opted to lock them onto a small island in the district of Cannaregio. Since then this small area has been the center of Jewish life in Venice, comprising several synagogues (divided by ethnicity) and homes...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.4 Km or 0.2 Miles
Romantic Spots

Romantic Spots

Venice is one of the most romantic cities in the world, a perfect destination for honeymoons, proposals and romantic trips. Most if not all streets, canals and quiet corners of this city are pervaded with emotion, sentiment, and passion. If you are traveling with your loved one, follow this self-guided walk that covers some of the best places where you can enjoy a magic moment together.

Getting...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
Casanova's Venice

Casanova's Venice

One of Venice's most famous personalities, Giacomo Casanova is remembered today as a womanizer, but was much more than that. Born in a family of theater actors in 1725, he came through as highly intellectual and very sharp from his very childhood, having become in his time an erudite scholar, a diplomat and spy, and a metropolitan avant la lettre, who frequented the high society and seduced...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.5 Km or 2.8 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

15 Distinctively Italian Things to Buy in Venice

Venice has been a tourist mecca for over a century now, with millions of visitors flocking in every year to see this unique place on the face of the Earth. Many, if not all, of these people seek to obtain something memorable as a token of their stay in this city. By far, not all of them know which...