Basilica of St Maria della Salute
The domes and bell tower of Santa Maria della Salute make the church a distinctive landmark on the skyline of Venice. The beautiful onion-shaped domes are breathtaking, especially when silhouetted at sunset. The church was commissioned in 1630 to celebrate the end of the Great Plague, which had wiped away one-third of Venice's population. The name is telling - meaning Saint Mary of Health, both a sigh of relief and a supplication for the disease-decimated city.
The basilica was dedicated in 1681 and immediately became one of the city's beloved monuments. The octagonal Baroque structure with three dominating domes is built on pavement with 100,000 pylons supporting it. The decorative exterior is alive with details. Eight Palladio-style facades outline the octagon, and there is a host of angels and saints standing guard over the structure. The interior is beautiful in its simplicity, with gorgeous mosaic floors and paintings by some of Italy's most impressive artists, most notably Tintoretto, who contributed the delightful Marriage at Cana in the sacristy, and Titian, who has several frescoes giving life to the ceilings.
The white outline of the church is a magical sight, from the water and from the quay.
Santa Maria della Salute is open every day from 9:00 AM til 12 Noon and from 3:00 PM til 5:30 PM.
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Address in Venice:
Fondamenta della Dogana alla Salute, 2.