The Festa della Madonna della Salute is probably the least touristy of the Venetian festivities. Held on November 21st at the Madonna della Salute Church, the festival commemorates Venice's deliverance from the plague in 1631.
A temporary votive bridge is set up across the Grand canal so that thousands of people, many carrying candles, can cross the water to reach the church to pay their respects and receive the blessings of the Madonna. it is definitely one of the city’s most heartfelt celebrations.
Those who are in Venice on the day of the Salute can experience a sincere and heart-felt atmosphere that is religious without being bigoted and is closely connected to the history and tradition of the city.
Lengthy queues of people crossing the votive bridge and reaching the majestic Church of the Salute on November 21 bear witness to the city's intense relationship with the Madonna to this day.
The votive bridge
Every year for the Salute, a temporary bridge is built on boats crossing the Grand Canal, connecting the area of San Moisè and S. Maria del Giglio (in the Saint Mark neighbourhood) with Longhena's basilica (in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood). Tens of thousands of people make the pilgrimage to pay homage to the Madonna and to light a candle asking her to keep them in good health.