The Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute is roughly deemed one of the best examples of the Baroque style architecture in Venice. This place of worship is located in Dorsoduro, facing, from the other side of Canal Grande, the very Palazzo Ducale, being, in fact, visible from Piazza San Marco by tourists who enter the square by water. The construction works were initiated in 1631, and the reason which determined the Venetians to built yet another place of worship dedicated to Saint Mary was the fact, as they believed back then, the Virgin delivered the city from the plague.

The construction works were completed 56 years later, in 1687, and they were supervised by Baldassare Longhena, back then a relatively unknown architect who eventually made his way through in the history of the Italian architecture by his considerable contribution to the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (as well as to other architectural landmarks of Venice, such as Ca’Rezzonico).

The edifice catches the eye of the wandering tourist by the lushness of its decorations, perfectly consistent with the guidelines of the Baroque style. Dripping of volutes and scrolls, the exterior is also populated with sculptural works, such as the statue of the Virgin (placed on top of the apex) overlooking the octagonal edifice in a symbolic gesture of protection. Figures of sundry other biblical characters (saints, prophets, evangelists) are also depicted by the sculptural decorations.

The inside of the basilica is replete with Marian symbols. Three of the altars are adorned with works like the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple, the Assumption of Our Lady, and the Nativity of Our Lady, all by Luca Giordano. Luca Giordano was not, however, the only artist to contribute to the church’s patrimony. There’s also a painting by Tintoretto (Marriage at Cana, one of the best works of the Venetian Renaissance artist) and by Titian, with a remarkable piece of art depicting the Descent of the Holy Ghost, placed inside of yet another altar. Titian is, for that matter, one of the main contributors to the pictorial patrimony of the church, having created for this church works like Saint Mark Enthroned with Saints Cosmas, Damian, Sebastian and Roch, the ceiling scenes which depict biblical figures (David, Goliath, Abraham, Isaac, Cain and Abel), as well as the works inside the sacristy and the nave (again, theological themes). The altarpiece in the sacristy is signed, it too, by Titian.

Other highlights of the basilica refer to the statuary by Josse de Corte, a Flemish artist, its main theme focusing on the figure of the Virgin delivering the humankind from the plague (a theme intimately related to the fact the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute itself is dedicated to Virgin Mary the Healer). Also of note is a Madonna and Child, a Byzantine work which dates back to the 12th or the 13th century, placed inside the high altar (sheltered by the basilica since 1669, after the Ottomans captured the city of Candia).

Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute (Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute)
Campo della Salute, Dorsoduro, 30123, Venice, Italy
0039 041 2411018
Opening hours:
daily: 9am to 12am and 3pm to 5:30pm
Santa maria della salute church in venice Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute
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