Santa Maria della Salute


The Salute church (Saint Mary of Good Health) was commissioned to mark the end of a plague in Venice which killed about 30% of the population. The architect, selected by competition, was Baldassare Longhena and the church was a novel design. Although still hugely influenced by Palladio who had built the Redentore church a century earlier to mark the end of a previous plague, Salute was novel in being circular in design. Longhena wrote:

“I have created a church in the form of a rotunda, a work of new invention, not built in Venice, a work very worthy and desired by many. This church, having the mystery of its dedication, being dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, made me think, with what little talent God has bestowed upon me of building the church in the … shape of a crown”.

Salute is a magnificent part of the Venice skyline sitting at the very end of the Grand Canal, opposite St Mar’s Piazza. For my part I found it more inspiring from the outside than the inside, which is a little sober and sombre.