La Festa della Salute
Every year in Venice on the 21st November is a special event in Venice. It is the festa della Madonna della Salute which dates back to 1630. As the story goes, there was a terrible plague in Venice which killed nearly one-third of the population. The people prayed and prayed. They vowed if the plague would go away they would build a beautiful church in order to say their thanks to Madonna della Salute or Our Lady of Health as it roughly translates. The plague went away finally and the church finished being built in 1687 in the baroque style which is still visible in many Venetian buildings today. On the 21st of November a temporary bridge made from boats is constructed to help people make their way to the church to pray and give thanks for their health.
The interior of the Church is absolutely beautiful and coloured red with decorations simply for this decoration. Tourists from all over Italy as well as Venetians take part in this occasion and make the pilgrimage across the canal to visit the church during this day.
The festival also brings a number of street vendors who sell candles to burn in the churches, balloons for children and delicious sweet snacks, predominantly from the South of Italy. There are Sicilian snacks such as; toffee apples, Cannoli etc. One that I tried in particular was Frittelle, a gorgeous deep fried dough ball flattened before being coated in sugar and nutella. A heart attack in a mouthful if there ever was one.
Even those who are not religious tend to love this holiday because it is a historical tradition of Venice and also at best a day off work/school.