Santa Maria della Salute

La Salute, Venezia
The Venice church of Santa Maria della Salute. (Photo by Marius Fiskum)

The Church of the Virgin Mary of Good Health in Venice, Italy

The high altar of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice
The high altar of Santa Maria della Salute. (Photo by Mircea Turcan)
Usually referred to simply as "La Salute," this majestic and compact 17th-century baroque jewel proudly reigns at this commercially and aesthetically important point: next to the the old dogana (customs house) at the tip of Dorsoduro and almost directly across from Piazza San Marco, where the Grand Canal empties into the wide Bacino San Marco basin.

In 1631, Venice had just survived yet another plague (which left 46,000 Venetians dead) thanks to the divine intervention of the Virgin Mary of Good Health (La Salute).

The Republic voted to honor her by building this church in her honor (much as they had with Il Redentore), and this time commissioned the revolutionary designs of a fairly unknown young architect, Baldassare Longhena.

Descent of the Holy Ghost by Tiziano (1545) in the sacristy of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice
Descent of the Holy Ghost (1545) by Titian in the sacristy.
Longhena would go on to design, among many other projects in Venice, the Ca' Rezzonico, but La Salute would continue to occupy his attentions for the next 50 years.

He died a year after the church's official inauguration—but, sadly, five years before its final completion.

The octagonal Salute is a baroque masterpiece, built of Istrian marble and marmorino ("little marble," actually bricks coated in marble dust).

Its exterior is an architectural festival of exuberant volutes, scrolls, and more than 125 statues.

All that busy-ness falls away when you enter the cool, restrained, and perfectly proportioned interior—which, unlike just about every other church in Venice, is suffused with light.

It is also suffused with decoration—festooned with statues above a polychrome marble floor, the altars on the octagonal walls highlighted by altarpieces by Luca Giordano.

Marriage at Cana by Jacopo Tintoretto (1561) in the church of Santa Maria della Salute, Venice
Marriage at Cana (1561) by Jacopo Tintoretto
The high altar, flanked by ancient Roman columns, houses a Byzantine Madonna and Child painting brought back from Crete.

Don't miss the small gallery of important paintings in the Sacristy (through a small door to the left of the main altar; modest admission fee).

Titian painted several of the ceiling panels and portraits of the Evangelists and church doctors, and decorating the right wall is Tintoretto's magnificent Marriage at Cana.

La Salute is also a popular place for free concerts, which frequently make use of the fine 1782 organ.

Squero San Trovaso gondola building workshop
Santa Maria della Salute (right) and La Dogana (left). (Photo by Aisano)

Tips & links

Details

Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Campo della Salute 1, Dorsoduro
Vaporetto: Salute
tel. +39-041-241-1018 or +39-041-274-3928
www.seminariovenezia.it
Open daily 9am–noon and 3–5:30pm


Santa Maria della Salute tours
• Context: Plague in Venice
• Context: Dorsoduro: From Gondolas to Contemporary Art
• Venetian Renaissance after the Plague

Tours

Take a tour: Book a guided walking tour of Venice that includes a visit to Santa Maria della Salute:

How long does La Salute take?

Planning your day: Honestly, you can be done in 15–30 minutes, but do take the time to pop into Venice's least gloomy church. Venice itineraries

Free concerts

The church hosts frequent free concerts (significant in that many other Venetian churches throw concerts, but most charge admission).

Mass at La Salute

Mass is said Sundays at 11am, Monday through Friday at 4pm.

Festa della Salute festival

The Festa della Salute takes place on Nov. 21, and for the roughly ten days surrounding it the church is filled with parishioners and flickers with the light from thousands of thin votive tapers. Also, the city builds a temporary pontoon bridge across the mouth of the Grand Canal from the Piazza San Marco area directly to La Salute.

Nearby sights, restaurants, and hotels

Sights nearby
★★ Peggy Guggenheim (museum)
★★★ Accademia (museum)

Where to eat nearby
★★ Trattoria Ai Cugnai (meal)
Enoteca Cantinone Già Schiavi (snack)

Hotels nearby
RR Hotel Galleria [moderate]
RR Hotel Pensione Accademia [premier]
Hotel Palazzo Guardi [cheap]
Hotel Ca' Centopietre [cheap]

»
» More hotels in Dorsoduro from Booking.com

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Details
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
Campo della Salute 1, Dorsoduro
Vaporetto: Salute
tel. +39-041-241-1018 or +39-041-274-3928
www.seminariovenezia.it
Open daily 9am–noon and 3–5:30pm


Santa Maria della Salute tours
• Context: Plague in Venice
• Context: Dorsoduro: From Gondolas to Contemporary Art
• Venetian Renaissance after the Plague
Nearby
Sights nearby
★★ Peggy Guggenheim (museum)
★★★ Accademia (museum)

Where to eat nearby
★★ Trattoria Ai Cugnai (meal)
Enoteca Cantinone Già Schiavi (snack)

Hotels nearby
RRHotel Galleria [moderate]
RR Hotel Pensione Accademia [premier]
Hotel Palazzo Guardi [cheap]
Hotel Ca' Centopietre [cheap]

»
» More hotels in Dorsoduro from Booking.com
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