The Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica of St. Mary of Health), or for short, La Salute, is one of the largest churches of Venice and has the status of a minor basilica. It stands in a prominent position at the junction between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco on the lagoon.
In October 1630, the Venetian Senate decreed that if the city were delivered from a plague that had consumed about a third of Venice’s population, a new church would be built and dedicated to the Virgin Mary.
As evidenced by the Church in my picture, the city was indeed delivered – and there was much rejoicing (yea!) Venetian architect, Baldassare Longhena, then only 26 years old, was selected to design the new church. It was consecrated in 1681, the year before Longhena’s death, and completed in 1687.
Built on a platform made of 100,000 wooden piles, the Salute is a vast, octagonal building constructed of “marmorino,” – brick covered with marble dust and Istrian stone – one of the most durable materials in Venetian architecture due to its nonporous physical and chemical makeup.
The church is full of Marian symbolism – the great dome represents her crown, the cavernous interior her womb, and the eight sides of the building are the eight points on her symbolic star.
This photo was shot with a Nikon D3 and the Ed AF Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens @ 200mm.