02 August, 2006

69. Santa Maria della Salute: Part 1

One of the most recognizable silhouettes on the Venetian skyline, the church of Santa Maria della Salute dominates the lower reaches of the Grand Canal.

'Salute' means 'health', but it also means 'salvation', and the church acquired its name because it was commissioned at the beginning of an outbreak of the plague in 1630, as a prayer for salvation. The Redentore, on Giudecca, (see the post here on June 2) was built as an act of thanksgiving after the city's final deliverance from the previous plague attack in 1575, but this even grander edifice was started in the hope that the Holy Mother might be persuaded to intervene while the plague was still happening and protect the city from the worst of the current outbreak.

Arguably, the plan worked. This time, fewer people died, only 46,490 citizens perished compared to some 51,000 in the first epidemic, which in one sense was an improvement.

Equally arguably, the holy bribe failed. As the city's numbers had not yet recovered to their former levels, the dead this time represented an even higher proportion of the total populace than before, pushing the number of survivors left in 1633 down to only 102,000, the lowest city headcount for more than 200 years.

The project even started badly. The foundation stone was to be laid by Doge Nicolo Contarini on Ascension Day 1631, but he was bedridden on that day, and the laying was postponed for a week. On April 1, the Duke hauled himself from his sickbed and performed the ceremony, then died at 7am the following morning. That should have been a sign that Mary wasn't in much of a compassionately intervening mood, but the church construction went ahead anyway.

Each year on November 21, the city celebrates the Festa della Madonna della Salute, and a procession of worshippers approaches the church from San Marco across the Grand Canal on a pontoon made of boats, to then give thanks for salvation from the plague in the great octagonal church.

I suppose an optimist would say that although a third of the city died, two-thirds of it didn't, but that seems to me to be a flimsy and macabre cause for celebration.

5 Comments:

Blogger ninest123 said...

lululemon, nike air max, michael kors outlet, michael kors, new balance pas cher, mulberry, nike free run uk, michael kors, michael kors outlet, kate spade handbags, burberry outlet online, hollister, air force, michael kors outlet, coach purses, sac guess, coach outlet, hermes, true religion jeans, true religion jeans, hogan, north face, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, true religion outlet, ugg boots, nike air max, hollister pas cher, michael kors outlet, vanessa bruno, coach outlet, true religion jeans, tn pas cher, burberry, lacoste pas cher, michael kors, michael kors outlet, timberland, converse pas cher, ralph lauren uk, replica handbags, nike roshe, nike blazer, ray ban uk, north face, ray ban pas cher, nike air max, oakley pas cher, michael kors, ugg boots

April 15, 2016 1:31 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

nike outlet, louboutin, longchamp outlet, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, ugg boots, nike air max, louis vuitton outlet, louboutin shoes, polo ralph lauren outlet, burberry, cheap oakley sunglasses, sac longchamp, ugg boots, christian louboutin outlet, prada handbags, air max, oakley sunglasses, longchamp pas cher, air jordan pas cher, jordan shoes, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, gucci outlet, tiffany and co, louis vuitton, prada outlet, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, nike air max, chanel handbags, michael kors, longchamp outlet, tory burch outlet, replica watches, longchamp, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike roshe run, louis vuitton outlet, uggs on sale, ray ban sunglasses, louboutin pas cher, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, nike free, tiffany jewelry, louboutin outlet, oakley sunglasses, nike free, ralph lauren pas cher

April 15, 2016 1:36 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

giuseppe zanotti, wedding dresses, insanity workout, iphone 6 plus cases, ghd, nike air max, iphone 5s cases, new balance, chi flat iron, vans shoes, baseball bats, birkin bag, abercrombie and fitch, iphone 6 cases, beats by dre, iphone 6s plus cases, mont blanc, louboutin, ferragamo shoes, hollister, celine handbags, hollister, longchamp, reebok shoes, soccer jerseys, nike huarache, valentino shoes, lululemon, mcm handbags, p90x workout, soccer shoes, instyler, bottega veneta, timberland boots, iphone cases, north face outlet, oakley, nike trainers, asics running shoes, nike roshe, north face outlet, ralph lauren, herve leger, babyliss, hollister, ipad cases, s5 cases, jimmy choo shoes, nfl jerseys, mac cosmetics, nike air max, iphone 6s cases

April 15, 2016 1:42 PM  
Blogger ninest123 said...

swarovski crystal, hollister, pandora charms, converse outlet, canada goose, converse, toms shoes, barbour jackets, moncler, louis vuitton, supra shoes, moncler, karen millen, gucci, moncler, moncler, barbour, replica watches, pandora charms, lancel, moncler, swarovski, canada goose uk, pandora jewelry, ugg pas cher, bottes ugg, moncler outlet, wedding dresses, vans, louis vuitton, ugg boots uk, pandora jewelry, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, links of london, moncler, thomas sabo, juicy couture outlet, canada goose, louis vuitton, moncler, canada goose outlet, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, montre pas cher, marc jacobs, canada goose, ray ban, sac louis vuitton pas cher, coach outlet, doudoune canada goose, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose

April 15, 2016 1:48 PM  
Blogger roba gad said...

Very nice post. I definitely appreciate this site. Stick with it!
http://www.kuwait.prokr.net/
http://www.emirates.prokr.net/

April 13, 2017 12:48 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home