Festa della Madonna della Salute
You may think that Venice in November would be a quiet time to visit but in fact you will see one of the biggest festivals of the year. Festa della Madonna della Salute is celebrated by the city with a pilgrimage to one of the city’s most beautiful churches as a thanksgiving for saving Venice from the plague.
If you are keen on the less touristy side of Venice then this festival is very low key and populated mostly by locals, so it’s a great chance to see how the locals celebrate their cities culture.
In the mid 1600’s the city was gripped by bubonic plague and so the Doge ordered a procession to honour Our Lady and made a vow to build a temple if the city survived the epidemic. Luckily for him, and city, the plague did subside and the basilica of Santa Maria della Salute was built.
The church is right in the middle of the city at the end of the Grand Canal near Punta della Dogana. It is a striking building and a pontoon bridge is strung across the Grand Canal from campo Santa Maria del Giglio to La Salute especially for the procession.
The procession starts at St Mark’s Basilica and all along the route are stalls selling cakes, candyfloss, and candles for pilgrims to light inside the church. Afterwards everyone tucks in to the traditional dish castradina (stewed spiced mutton with polenta).
Once the festivities are over head to Ai Gondolieri on Dorsoduro, which is not far away, for a warm welcome and relaxed and intimate atmosphere. The risotto for two is a romantic treat if you are with a loved one.
A little bit further away and probably less busy is the Alle Zattere where you can get top notch pizza with a fantastic view across the lagoon.
To get to the church from Generator Venice you can catch the B line from Zittelle to Zattere and then it is a 10 minute walk to the church.