Santa Maria della Salute, commonly known simply as the Salute, is a 17th-century baroque church in Venice. It was erected as thanks for the city’s deliverance from the plague of 1630. It stands on the left bank as you enter the Grand Canal. The church is visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death. Beginning in the summer of 1630, an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague hit Venice. It lasted until 1631 and killed nearly a third of the population. In the city 46,000 people died, while in the surrounding lagoons the number was far higher, at 94,000.
The Salute is an octagonal building with two domes and a pair of picturesque bell towers at the back. It is built on a platform made of 1,000,000 wooden piles, and is constructed of Istrian stone and marmorino (brick covered with marble dust). At the apex of the pediment stands a statue of the Virgin Mary who presides over the church which was erected in her honor. The facade is decorated with figures of Saint George, Saint Theodore, the Evangelists, the Prophets, Judith with the head of Holofernes.