Celebration of the Madonna of Health 2012

21 November 2012

The Celebration of the Madonna of Health is one of the most important Venice events, established after the bubonic plague epidemic that devastated Europe between 1630 and 1631.In response to the relentless spread of the epidemic one only has to consider that at the end of the outbreak almost 50.000 deaths were reported in Venice alone the Serenissima Republic resorted to making a wow and asking for the intervention of Holy Mary and promised that a church would be erected as soon as the plague ceased. In November 1631, once the outbreak had died out, the governing body hurried to fulfil its promise and amongst several proposals the one of Baldassare Longhena was accepted. Building works for the church started soon afterwards and were completed after 56 years.On November 21st each year celebrations are held with a procession led by the Patriarch, which starts from St Marks Square and ends at the Church of the Health and crosses the Canal Grande on a boat bridge purposely built for the occasion. This votive bridge links up Campo St Mary of the Lily, on St Mark side, with Calle St Giorgio on Dorsoduro side.Venetians flock in their thousands to plead for grace in front of the Madonna, whose sacred image - given as a gift by the Doge Francesco Morosini- is carried amongst many candles by the prayers themselves. On route and outside the church there are stalls selling candles and all sorts of sweets, another source of attraction for this event.
By Insidecom Editorial Staff