From the 14th century onwards, Europe was devastated by recurring outbreaks of bubonic plague; The Black Death.  Venice was no exception, but in the 1630’s roughly a third of the population died as a result.  Previous outbreaks had led to the building of churches in the hope that such a display of devotion would prompt the saints to intervene.  With such a casualty rate as was experienced in 1630 no ordinary saint would do, and so they called upon the Virgin Mary herself to deliver them.

The baroque basilica that they constructed in thanks is Santa Maria della Salute (St Mary of Health), and is stunning enough to rival some of the wonders of St Marks from across the basin in Dorsoduro.  Travelling down the canal the church is first glimpsed from beneath the Accademia bridge, and her domes are a signpost of the wonders to come.

Venezia-8-2

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