Anecdotes and Curiosities about Venice and other cities in Veneto: history, secrets and legends

Discover a different side of this wonderful Italian region

Hidden Treasures is a weekly column on venetoinside.com dedicated to those who wish to learn about legends, secrets and mysteries of the lesser-known sights of Venice as well as off-the-beaten track locations, amusing anecdotes related to the other main cities - Verona, Vicenza, Padova, Treviso and Belluno – and the picturesque towns of our region.

Our stories aim to accompany you in the discovery of the most interesting aspects of Venice and Veneto related to history and folklore, mysterious places and famous works of art, monuments and ancient traditions! We will reveal the hidden treasures of Venice that make up the most mysterious and fascinating character of the city as well as the mysteries of the lagoon and original tales, all based on a foundation of historical fact, without forgetting the intriguing anecdotes on the other pearls of Veneto, such as Treviso, Verona, Vicenza, Padua and Belluno, picturesque villages, the awe-inspiring Dolomites, Lake Garda... Week after week we will disclose the most captivating secrets of our land combining art, culture, tradition, mystery and legend!

Hidden Treasures is a true tourist guide to the secrets and mysteries of Venice and Veneto ... Make yourself comfortable! Exciting reading awaits you with stories and legends never told before which will excite your curiosity and encourage you to visit the places you will learn about...

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The strange altar of the Basilica della Salute in Venice

On 21 November Venice celebrates the Madonna della Salute, which commemorates the end of a terrible plague, which between 1630 and 1631 decimated the population of Venice. In those days no one knew exactly how the disease was unleashed and all attempts to stop the infection were unsuccessful, so the government of the Venice Republic made a vow to the Virgin Mary, promising that if the plague was finally over, they would build a new church dedicated to her. So on 21 November 1631 the first stone of the new building was laid, designed by the great architect Baldassare Longhena. Inside you can admire a very special altar designed by Longhena. It consists of three marble statues, carved by the Flemish artist Just Le Court. The left figure represents Venice, a beautiful girl who asks for help to the stop the plague from the Virgin Mary; the central figure is in fact the Madonna and Child, to whom the church is dedicated; and finally the third figure on the right - a nasty old and ragged woman – represents the plague, who runs in a terrified way in front of the Virgin Mary. The altar also houses a Byzantine icon of the Madonna della Salute or Mesopanditissa, who, from the island of Crete, was brought to Venice by Francesco Morosini in 1670, when they had to cede the island to the Turks. The Basilica of the Madonna della Salute is one of the many precious artistic and architectural gems that adorn Venice...would you like to discover the others? Book our customizable tour 'Your Own Venice: private guided tour of Venice' and travel in the world of Venetian curiosities! 

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