On Friday 18 November, at 12, the traditional votive bridge over the Grand Canal will open, set up at the ferry between Santa Maria del Giglio and San Gregorio, for the anniversary of the Madonna della Salute. The highest civil and military authorities of the city will be present at the opening ceremony of the structure.
The bridge will remain open without interruption until 10.30 pm on Tuesday 21 November.
The Festa della Salute, one of the most heartfelt by the Venetians, shares the same roots as the Festa del Redentore: in fact, it was born from a plague epidemic, that of 1630-31, which caused 47,000 deaths in Venice (about a quarter of the population). . Desperate, the doge Nicolò Contarini and the patriarch Giovanni Tiepolo organized a prayer procession that gathered all the surviving citizens and lasted three days and three nights and made a solemn vow to the Madonna that they would build a temple in her honor if the city had survived the epidemic. In a few weeks the infections decreased until they stopped completely: the government of the Serenissima completed the vote and had the majestic Basilica of the Madonna della Salute built in the Dogana da Mar area, clearly visible from San Marco, whose construction was entrusted to the young Baldassarre Longhena and lasted from 1631 to 1687.
Every year, on November 21st, that event is remembered. The Basilica of the Madonna della Salute remains open all day from 5.45 to 22.30.