The original monastery and church on this site, dedicated to The Holy Trinity, was given by Venice to the Teutonic Knights in 1256 in gratitude for their help in the war against Genoa. Suppression by Pope Clement XVI followed in 1592 and the complex returned to the patriarchate of Venice.
This original complex was demolished in order that this church be built to hasten and celebrate the end of the last great plague of 1630-31 which had taken 46,000 people, 30% of Venice’s population. It had supposedly been brought from the quarantine island of San Clemente by a carpenter who lived in the nearby parish of Sant’Agnese. Santa Maria della Salute means St Mary of Health – the Virgin was thought to have had a hand in saving the Venetians. The commission was prestigious and a competition was held, among the conditions of which being that the church be flashy but not too expensive. Eleven proposals were reduced to two, the other of these being a more traditional design by Smeraldi. The twenty-six year old Longhena’s winning design took a Palladian base and made something freshly baroque and theatrical. Longhena had studied with Scamozzi, who had himself collaborated with Sansovino and Palladio. Building took 30 years (a wooden oratory was used in the meantime) with the square in front laid out in 1681. Longhena died in 1682 and Gaspari finished his work. Consecration took place on the 9th of November 1687.
All photos were taken in November 2014 using Fujifilm X-E1 and Fujinon kit lens 18-55mm