All Religious

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    Procession of the Apostles 2019

    Date: 18 April 2019

    Procession of the Apostles is a religious manifestation held every year on the island of Procida, on the day of Holy Thursday, one day before the Good Friday and the Procession of the Mysteries. Both processions are organized by the Congregation of the Turchini, a religious brotherhood founded in 1583 by Cardinal Innico D’Avalos of Aragon. On the day of Holy Thursday, around 18.30, takes place the Washing of the feet ceremony at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua. After the ceremony, the procession of the Twelve Apostles leaves the church to wind along the narrow streets of the island. The Apostles, with white robes, hoods and crowns of thorns on their heads, each of them carrying a wooden cross, are walking in perfect silence from one church to another, accompanied by members of the brotherhood. Their path is illuminated with torches. At every stop, the Apostles remove the crown of thorns, raise the hood, uncovering the face, and sing a hymn, accompanied by the choir of the faithful. After some moments of worship, the Apostles resume their journey to the next church. One of the stops is the Church of San Tommaso d’Aquino, where the statue of the Read more [...]

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    Good Friday Procession 2019

    Date: 19 April 2019

    The Good Friday Procession (Processione del Venerdì Santo), known also as Procession of the Mysteries (Processione dei Misteri), is a religious manifestation that takes place every year in Procida, on the day of Good Friday, one day after the Holy Thursday and the Procession of the Apostles. One of the most evocative and colorful in the whole Italy, the procession attracts thousands of people from Naples and the Flegrean archipelago, but also many tourists. The Good Friday Procession was born in the 17th century, initiated by the Congregation of the Turchini, as a penitential procession. The participants wore a sackcloth and were hitting themselves with whips until they bled. The practice was later forbidden by the church. The symbolism of the procession has been increasingly enriched over the centuries, until it reached its current form. Although the theme is always the same (the Life, Passion and Death of Jesus Christ), the procession is never similar to that of the previous year. The procession consists of a series of chariots called Misteri (Mysteries), representing characters and scenes from the Bible, carried by young Procidans, from the fortified village Terra Murata, through the streets of the island, until they reach Marina Grande, Read more [...]

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    Explosion of the Cart 2019

    Date: 21 April 2019

    The Explosion of the Cart (Scoppio del Carro) is a religious tradition that takes place every year on Easter Sunday, in Florence. The brindellone, a pyrotechnical tower positioned on a cart, is pulled by a pair of oxen on the streets of the historical center of Florence and positioned, in the end, between the Baptistery of Saint John and the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. At a certain time, the archbishop lights a dove-shaped rocket from the altar of the cathedral, which, through a cord mechanism, runs through the central nave of the church and reaches the cart outside, causing it to explode.   SHORT HISTORY The ceremony dates back to the distant times of the First Crusade, called to free the city of the Jerusalem in 1099. According to the legend, it was the Florentine Pazzino from the Pazzi family who first climbed the walls of the Holy City where he placed the Christian flag. For this act of valor, Godfrey of Bouillon, one of the leaders of the First Crusade, donated three small pieces from the Holy Sepulcher to him. Returning to Florence, Pazzino was celebrated and welcomed with solemn honors. It seems that, after the liberation Read more [...]

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    Festa di San Giorgio 2019

    Date: 23 April 2019

    Time: 9:00 pm to 12:00 am

    Festa di San Giorgio (Feast of Saint George) is celebrated on April 23, every year, in Portofino, in honor of the patron saint of the town. According to legend, Saint George was a soldier of the Praetorian Guard of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who was sentenced to death for refusing to deny his Christian faith. He is one of the most venerated saints in Christianity. On this occasion, a tree trunk cut on the mountain, called pennolla, is brought to the main square of the town. Around the trunk are brought old boats, fences, branches, dried flowers and things to throw away, and a huge fire is lit. In the meantime, people eat, drink and sing songs till the pennolla falls to the ground. If what remains of the trunk falls in the direction of the sea, it will be a good year. In the opposite case, if it falls towards the land, the season will not be that good.   FESTA DI SAN GIORGIO 2019 will take place in April 23. The people will light the pennolla around 9.00 pm and the evening will end with a fireworks show.

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    I Tri da Cruci 2019

    Date: 3 May 2019

    I Tri da Cruci (the Three Crosses) is a traditional festival held every year in Tropea, on the 3rd of May. Its name originates from three wooden crosses kept in the altar of a small church on the suburbs of the town, in Via Umberto I, a church that collapsed in 1875 after an earthquake. The crosses were saved and placed in the church of the souls in purgatory and, nowadays, are still objects of veneration. On this occasion, the village is decorated with candles and colorful flags, and a boat laden with fireworks is suspended in the air, near the Piazza Cannone. Of the events taking place in the morning, we can mention the dance of the giants, when two large puppets dance on the streets of the town. Afterwards, the children pop balloons with a wooden stick and the adults break jugs filled with water. On the evening, the boat is lit on fire, creating a beautiful spectacle of lights, colors and explosions. Later, the dance of the camel on fire (camiuzzu i focu) takes place, when a paper and wood camel stuffed with fireworks is dancing on the streets of the town, accompanied by the rhythm of Read more [...]

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    Festa di Santa Lucia delle Quaglie 2019 - 5 May 2019

    Date: 5 May 2019

    Festa di Santa Lucia delle Quaglie (Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails), known also as the Patronage of Saint Lucia, is a religious celebration held every year on the first two Sundays of May, in Syracuse. In Syracuse, there are many feasts dedicated to Santa Lucia, which recall various miracles attributed to the Saint. Besides the Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails, another important celebration dedicated to the Saint is the feast held on 13th and 20th December. The May celebration recalls the miracle occured in 1646, when the city passed through a serious famine, and ships loaded with grain arrived in the harbour at the right moment, saving Syracuse from calamity. The legend tells that a quail flew inside the Cathedral to announce the miracle. On the first Sunday of May, around midday, a short procession takes place from the Cathedral of Syracuse to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, located only a few meters away, in the same square, Piazza Duomo. On this occasion, the statue of Santa Lucia is transported from one church to another and, during this short pilgrimage, doves are released from the balconies that surround the square. On the next Sunday, Read more [...]

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    Festa di San Fortunato 2019

    Date: 11 May 2019

    Festa di San Fortunato (Feast of San Fortunato) is a religious event held every year in Camogli, on the second Saturday of May, in honor of San Fortunato, patron saint of fishermen and sailors. On the next day, Sunday, Sagra del Pesce takes place, a festival dedicated to the same saint.   SHORT HISTORY At the beginning of the 18th century, Camogli lived only on fishing, and the inhabitants spent long periods, from May to September, on the open sea. Often, they encountered bad weather, and for this they invoked the protection of the Madonna del Boschetto, patron saint of the city. Therefore, was born the need to have a saint dedicated to fishermen and sailors, so the parish priest of the time, Father Pellegrino de Negri, asked Pope Clement XI to identify one. The pontiff pointed to an unnamed Roman legionary converted to Christianity, and killed in the circus by his own comrades. In 1710, the sailors from Camogli left for Civitavecchia aboard a galley to bring the remains of the martyr, but on the return journey they were surprised by a terrible storm. In that moment, they turned their prayers to the anonymous saint they had on board. Read more [...]

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    Festa di Santa Lucia delle Quaglie 2019 - 12 May 2019

    Date: 12 May 2019

    Festa di Santa Lucia delle Quaglie (Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails), known also as the Patronage of Saint Lucia, is a religious celebration held every year on the first two Sundays of May, in Syracuse. In Syracuse, there are many feasts dedicated to Santa Lucia, which recall various miracles attributed to the Saint. Besides the Feast of Saint Lucia of the Quails, another important celebration dedicated to the Saint is the feast held on 13th and 20th December. The May celebration recalls the miracle occured in 1646, when the city passed through a serious famine, and ships loaded with grain arrived in the harbour at the right moment, saving Syracuse from calamity. The legend tells that a quail flew inside the Cathedral to announce the miracle. On the first Sunday of May, around midday, a short procession takes place from the Cathedral of Syracuse to the Church of Santa Lucia alla Badia, located only a few meters away, in the same square, Piazza Duomo. On this occasion, the statue of Santa Lucia is transported from one church to another and, during this short pilgrimage, doves are released from the balconies that surround the square. On the next Sunday, Read more [...]

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    Transit of Saint Anthony 2019

    Date: 12 June 2019

    Time: 8:30 am to 10:00 am

    Transit of Saint Anthony is a religious ceremony and, at the same time, a historical reenactment dedicated to Saint Anthony of Padua, held every year in Padua, on June 12, on the eve of the Feast of Saint Anthony, recalling his last moments on earth. On this occasion, a procession starts around 8.30 am from Piazzale Azzurri d’Italia, in Arcella, a district of Padua, and winds along the streets of the city. Around 9.30 am, the procession reaches Sanctuary dell’Arcella, a church that preserves the room in which St. Anthony of Padua died, and the concert of the bells of the entire city begins.   SHORT HISTORY Born in 1195, in Lisbon, Saint Anthony was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. He is known for his powerful preaching and for his devotion to the poor and the sick. In 1231, at the age of 35, sick and aware of his approaching death, Saint Anthony asked to be taken from Camposampiero, a town about 20 kilometers north of Padua, to the city where he wanted to be buried. He was taken to Padua in an ox-drawn cart and, once he arrived on the outskirts of the city, Read more [...]

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    Luminara di San Ranieri 2019

    Date: 16 June 2019

    Luminara di San Ranieri is a candlelight festival that takes place every year in Pisa, on the night of June 16, and is dedicated to San Ranieri, the patron saint of the city. On this occasion, the city lights up with thousands of candles, creating an evocative and unique effect that seems to bring the visitors back in time. Every year, approximately 100,000 candles placed on wooden frames outline the architectural forms of the palaces, bridges, churches and towers that overlook the River Arno. Later, many of the candles are placed on water, on the same river, between the Fortezza Bridge and the Citadella Bridge, creating an enchanting play of lights and reflections. Along with the Palio di San Ranieri, the Gioco del Ponte and, every four years, the Regatta of the Historical Maritime Republics, the Luminaria is part of a series of events entitled Giugno Pisano (Pisan June).   SHORT HISTORY The first historical document attesting the tradition of illuminating the city of Pisa with oil lamps dates back to 1337. Before 1688, the feast was held on several occasions. Notable are the 1539 edition, in honor of Vittoria della Rovere, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and the wife of Read more [...]

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    Festa della Madonna della Bruna 2019

    Date: 2 July 2019

    Festa della Madonna della Bruna, commonly known as Festa della Bruna, is a religious feast held every year since 1389, on July 2, in Matera, in honor of the patron saint of the city, Madonna della Bruna.   SHORT HISTORY The origins of the festival are not very clear. The custom, handed down from one generation to the next, has been enriched over time by innumerable variations. The legends tells that a farmer, in his way to Matera, took a young lady in his cart. Near the town, she got out of the cart and asked the peasant to tell the Bishop that she was the mother of Christ. When he heard that, the Bishop, along with the clergy and the townspeople, rushed to welcome the Virgin, but they found a statue in her place. The statue of the Madonna was brought to the city on a decorated triumphal chariot. Today, the statue of the Madonna is located in the transept of the Matera Cathedral. Until the 16th century, the feast was characterized mainly by a procession that took place at dawn, called the Procession of the Shepherds (Processione dei Pastori), in which the shepherds, early in the morning, wandered along Read more [...]

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    Festa di Santa Rosalia 2019

    Date: 14 July 2019 - 15 July 2019

    Festa di Santa Rosalia (Feast of Saint Rosalia) is one of the most important religious events in Sicily, held every year in the first half of July, in Palermo. The feast is dedicated to Saint Rosalia, also called La Santuzza (Little Saint), the patron saint of the city, and it commemorates the miraculous appearances of the Saint from 1624, when Palermo was hit by plague.   SHORT HISTORY In 1624, the Viceroy of Sicily, Emanuel Filibert of Savoy, who resided in the city, brought to the port of Palermo a ship from Tunis, containing many gifts. Muhammad Calavà, the captain of the ship, and some of the crew, were suspected of being sick. Shortly after, the disease, carried by rats, spread rapidly all over the city. A 47-year-old woman, Girolama La Gattuta, suffering of strong fever at the Hospital of Palermo, had an angel vision. The angel told her to go to Monte Pellegrino and pray. Three days later, Girolama miraculously recovered, without going to Mount Pellegrino, but she fell ill again on May 7, 1624, when the plague hit the city. A few days later, Girolama climbed the Mount Pellegrino, drank some clear water that dripped from the walls Read more [...]

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    Festa del Redentore 2019

    Date: 20 July 2019 - 21 July 2019

    Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) is one of the most beloved Venetian celebrations, held every year in Venice, in the third weekend of July. At first, Festa del Redentore was a purely religious feast, but, over time, profane elements found their place alongside religious manifestations, and today the event includes a party, a regatta and one of the most impressive firework display in the world.   SHORT HISTORY Between 1575 and 1577, Venice was hit by a merciless plague that killed about one-third of the city’s population. Due to the precarious conditions in which the people were living and to a high population density, the disease spread rapidly and was difficult to control. In 1576, the Venetian Senate decided to build a church dedicated to Jesus the Redeemer (Il Redentore), hoping to get rid of the disease. A year later, in July, the city was declared cured, and the Venetians initiated a new celebration called Festa del Redentore. Today, the feast takes place in the third weekend of July and, on this occasion, a bridge is built across the Giudecca Canal, between Zattere and the Giudecca Island, that people cross in a short pilgrimage to the church built Read more [...]

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    Festa di Santa Margherita d’Antiochia 2019

    Date: 20 July 2019

    Festa di Santa Margherita d’Antiochia is a religious celebration held every year on July 20, in Vernazza, dedicated to the patron saint of the town, Santa Margherita d’Antiochia. Margherita was a Christian girl who have been martyred in the year 304. She is venerated as a saint by the Catholic Church and by the Orthodox Church, who consider her to be the patron saint of pregnant women.   FESTA DI SANTA MARGHERITA D’ANTIOCHIA 2019 will be held on July 20. On this occasion, throughout the day, on the main street of the town leading to the Piazza Guglielmo Marconi and the small marina, there will be stalls offering local specialities. In the evening, a nocturnal procession with crucifixes will start from the Church of Santa Margherita. The feast will end with a fireworks display.

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    Festa del Santissimo Salvatore della Trasfigurazione 2019

    Date: 2 August 2019 - 6 August 2019

    Festa del Santissimo Salvatore della Trasfigurazione (Feast of the Most Holy Savior of the Transfiguration) is a religious feast held every year in Cefalù, between 2 and 6 August, dedicated to the patron saint of the city. During these five days, farmers, who have just finished the harvest, find themselves resting and rejoicing.   SHORT HISTORY The Transfiguration is a moment in the New Testament, when the Christ and three of his apostles, Peter, James and John, go to a mountain, and the Son of God becomes radiant in glory, shining with bright rays of light. In the Eastern world, the festivity of the Transfiguration is to be traced back to the fourth century, when Empress Helen, mother of Emperor Constantine the Great, built the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, in Israel. In Sicily, the Transfiguration is celebrated starting with the 12th century, and is closely linked to the Rogerian period. Only in 1457, in gratitude for the victory obtained in Belgrade by the Christian army against Turkey, Pope Callistus III also established the feast of the Transfiguration in the Western Europe. The devotion of the city of Cefalù to the Most Holy Savior begun with the construction Read more [...]

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    Festa della Stella Maris 2019

    Date: 4 August 2019

    Festa della Stella Maris is a religious festival of light held every year in Camogli, on the first Sunday of August. The feast is dedicated to Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), the Madonna who protects those who sail the seas. On this occasion, a procession of boats is held in the morning, from Camogli to Punta Chiappa, located a few kilometers to the south, at the foot of Portofino Mountain. In the evening, thousands of lit candles are released on water from the Camogli Beach, lighting the sea, which looks like a sky full of stars. The night will end with a fireworks display.   SHORT HISTORY The tradition was born in 1924, when Don Nicolò Lavarello, rector of the church of San Nicolò di Capodimonte, thought of restoring the statue of the Madonna from the promontory of Punta Chiappa. A procession of boats was organized then, which, starting from the Port of Camogli, accompanied the statue of the Madonna to the Punta Chiappa. But the origin of the veneration of Stella Maris is much older, lost in the 15th century, when the fishermen of Camogli began to rely on her, so that their time spent at sea will Read more [...]

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    Festa Estiva di Sant’Agata 2019

    Date: 17 August 2019

    Festa estiva di Sant’Agata (Summer Feast of Saint Agatha) is another religious celebration dedicated to the same Saint of Catania, that takes place every year on August 17, recalling the Translation of the Relics of the Saint from Constantinople to the sicilian city located at the foot of Mount Etna. The August feast does not have the magnitude of the Feast of Saint Agatha held in February, which lasts for three days, but still attracts thousands of local people and tourists in the main square of the city, Piazza del Duomo, in front of the Cathedral dedicated to the same Saint.   SHORT HISTORY The relics of Saint Agatha were stolen in 1040 by the Byzantine general Giorgio Maniace, and taken to Constantinople. In 1126, two soldiers, Giliberto and Goselino, stole the relics and brought them back to Sicily, to the Castle of Aci, where were taken into possession by the Bishop Maurizio. On August 17, 1126, the Relics returned to the Cathedral of Sant’Agata and, starting with that day, a new feast was born.   In 2019, FESTA ESTIVA DI SANT’AGATA will take place, as usual, on August 17. The celebration will begin in the morning, but the most Read more [...]

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    Festa della Madonna Bianca 2019

    Date: 17 August 2019

    Time: 8:30 pm to 12:00 am

    Festa della Madonna Bianca (Feast of the White Madonna) is a religious feast which takes place every year on August 17, in Portovenere, in honor of the White Madonna, the patron saint of the village.   SHORT HISTORY The celebration recalls the miracle of 1399, when, during the French occupation, the seaside village of Portovenere was struck by plague. The tradition states that on August 16, 1399, a certain villager named Lucciardo, while praying in front of the image depicting the Virgin Mary (a discolored parchment drawn by pen), saw the painting suddenly coloured. Once the plague was over, the miracle was attributed to the Virgin Mary, the painting was transported to the Church of San Lorenzo, and the cult of the White Madonna was initiated. It is said that the sacred painting of the Virgin Mary was washed ashore in Portovenere, enclosed in a cedar trunk, in 1204. During those times, ships returning from the Holy Land had trunks on board, in which were stored precious objects, which were sealed and thrown into the sea when attacked by pirates.   FESTA DELLA MADONNA BIANCA 2019 will take place, as usual, on the evening of August 17. Around 8.30 pm, a Read more [...]

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    Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo 2019

    Date: 25 August 2019 - 27 August 2019

    Cavalcata di Sant’Oronzo (Cavalcade of Saint Orontius) is a religious feast held every year between 25 and 27 of August, in Ostuni. The procession, dedicated to the patron saint of the city, Saint Orontius, is the most important festival in Ostuni. The feast dates back to 1657. The procession was born as a way of showing gratitude to the saint who saved Ostuni from the plague, when it swept through Apulia. Since then, it has been an annual rite. On this occasion, knights on horses parades through the city streets towards the Cathedral of Ostuni, in honor of the protector of the city. Once in the Piazza Beato Giovanni Paolo II, they wait for the statue of the saint, which is then carried on shoulders throughout the city.   CAVALCATA DI SANT’ORONZO 2019 will take place, as usual, on the days of August 25, 26 and 27. On the night of August 26, around midnight, a firework display will take place.

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    Luminara di Santa Croce 2019

    Date: 13 September 2019

    Time: 8:00 pm to 12:00 am

    Luminara di Santa Croce is a religious festival held every year in Lucca on the evening of September 13, in the form of a candlelit procession unfolded on the beautiful streets of the city. The procession takes place on the eve of the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, celebrated each year on September 14. In the Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross celebrates the cross itself, as an instrument of salvation. On this occasion, the buildings are decorated with thousands of candles and the traditional mottettone, a polyphonic choral and instrumental composition, is performed. This tradition is now common only in Lucca and Pisa, for the Luminara di San Ranieri. On this day, the city celebrates the Holy Face (Volto Santo), a wooden crucifix measuring 2.24 x 2.65 meters, kept in a chapel built in 1482 by Matteo Civitali, in the Cathedral of San Martino. According to the legend, the crucifix was sculpted by Nicodemus, who assisted Joseph of Arimathea in depositing Christ in his tomb, and it was found and brought to Lucca in the year 742. At first, the crucifix was deposited in the Church of San Read more [...]

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    Festa di Sant’Eustachio 2019

    Date: 20 September 2019

    Festa di Sant’Eustachio is a religious feast taking place every year on September 20, in Matera, to celebrate the patron saint of the city, Saint Eustace.   THE SAINT Saint Eustace was a Christian martyr and soldier saint, who lived in the 2nd century AD. Prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag in Tivoli, near Rome, Placidus saw a vision of a crucifix between the stag’s antlers, and he immediately converted to Christianity and changed his name to Eustace. In 994, Matera was occupied by the Saracens, the people invoked the Saint and the town was freed from the invaders. Since then, Saint Eustace became the patron saint of the town.   FESTA DI SANT’EUSTACHIO 2019 will take place on Friday, September 20. During the day, a holy mass will be held in the Cathedral of Matera, to honor the name of the Saint, and during the evening, the procession with the image of the Saint will take place along the main streets of the town. A firework display will close the festivity late at night.   TIP: In 2019, Matera will be the European Read more [...]

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    Festa della Salute 2019

    Date: 21 November 2019

    Festa della Madonna della Salute, commonly known as Festa della Salute, is a religious celebration taking place every year on November 21, in Venice. The feast, dedicated in particular to the locals and less known by tourists, has a strong religious character, taking the form of a pilgrimage which starts from San Marco, from the Church of Santa Maria del Giglio, and ends in Dorsoduro, at the Church of Santa Maria della Salute, crossing the Grand Canal on a votive bridge specially built on boats for this occasion.   SHORT HISTORY Festa della Salute, like many local holidays, commemorates a painful moment in Venice’s history – the epidemic from 1630-1631. The disease had been brought from Mantova in June of 1630 by some ambassadors sent to ask for help, and spread rapidly throughout the city, killing almost 50,000 people in about a year. In the autumn of 1630, the Venetians organized a three-day procession involving more than 10,000 people, during which Nicolò Contarini, the Doge of Venice, invoked the help of the Virgin Mary and publicly promised to raise a church called Salute, if the city will get rid of the plague. In April, 1631, the Doge was killed by Read more [...]