First of all, when: The Madonna della Salute Festival is the 21st of November. If in your travels you are looking for beautiful places and also traditional authentic experiences, this festival is something you can’t pass up. For Venetians the Madonna della Salute has a very important significance and is very heartfelt. It is the anniversary that remembers the end of a terrible plague that devastated the city and northern Italy between 1630 and 1631.
Since then the Venetians every year on the 21st November, gather and migrate towards the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful baroque church constructed in homage to the epidemic’s end. But here are some curiosities to know about if you want to visit the festival first-hand.
1 – It’s a festival
We got it, it’s a party. A religious party, but not only. The Salute festival is in fact a day dedicated to residents as well. Everyone is home from school and work. Venice is unique and it stops for its traditions.
2 – A bridge is constructed
A mobile bridge is constructed in honor during the Festival of Redentore and this isn’t the only time. In order to allow another access point to the Basilica della Salute, a temporary bridge is erected from Santa Maria del Giglio to the Punta della Dogana. Another Bridge on the Grand Canal, but only for a little while.
3 – The search for a candle
Tradition would have it that around these days in November people migrate toward the Basilica of the Salute to attend mass that lasts all day. At the same time it is custom to light a candle in memory of your loved ones. In the vicinity you can find many candles of every size and dimension being sold on high demand.
4 – What to Eat?
Every festival has its special dish. And the Madonna della Salute Festival is no exception. During this occasion the Venetians often eat the castradina, an antique dish of salted mutton, smoked and seasoned, used to make a delicious soup with savoy cabbage and wine.
5 – Patience
If you would like to join the procession on the 21st of November to the Madonna della Salute, arm yourself with patience: the rush of people is consistent throughout the whole day. But the atmosphere is emotional and real and to pass the time you can take advantage of the numerous stands of sweets and pastries that surround the church.