Monday, August 25, 2008

Venice, Italy: Festa della Madonna della Salute . . . .

Now that the Olympics are over I'm going to finish up on my Venice photos/report and start nailing down more details for my trip to Spain. I was delighted to read a recent post by Maria on the Slow Travel Message Board about several wonderful souvenir ideas to bring home from Spain. So exciting! I love the Spanish Handmade Fans idea and music. I also want to do some research to see if there will be any special traditions or celebrations taking place during my trip there in November.

Last year, I was so lucky that I was visiting Venice during the very special Festa della Madonna della Salute.

Here's what I wrote in my blog while I was in Venice:

Today, is a relaxing day. I got up in time to walk over to the La Salute Festival event. I went earlier so I could attend a mass before the real crowds came. Local Venetians were walking towards this grand church from all directions. Over the temporary bridge, from the side calles, from the vaporetto . . .

I see a Kiosk nearby run by some nuns. I "thought" they were selling these items. They had holy water and other things. I asked how much (in Italian)? And they responded with a smile and a flurry of words . . . all in Italian. Finally, one of the nuns hands me a Virgin Mary statue with holy water. I finally figured out that that they were not selling these but giving them to people. I say with a humble smile to them and the Italian man that was trying to help me and the nuns with our communication .... a very sincere grazie'. I felt like such a heel. This little statue with the holy water will be one of my most prized souvenir! It will remind me of the humbleness and graciousness of the Italian people here in Venice.

Here's a cool Youtube I created:

Now if you are curious about my little Virgin Mary that I got from the very friendly nuns, here's a photo I took of this very special souvenir.

This is one of my most treasured souvenir from my trip.


  1. How exciting that you were there during the Festa della Madonna della Salute! I have read about it and LOVED your video! The bells!! I just love listening to the bells ring. Someone could make a lot of money making a CD of just bells. I also loved the visuals and yes you are brave. I am always too chicken to take photos/videos during mass. Must be my Catholic guilt from my childhood days. Great post!!

  2. Hi Girasoli, yes I was so lucky to be there during that very special day. My apartment was so close to the Salute church and I heard those beautiful sounding bells everyday and loved it!

    I couldn't help filming during mass. The acoustics was just so incredible and made everyone's voices sound so beautiful I just had to have something to remember it.

    I miss it!

    Thanks for your comments. Have a great week! Long holiday weekedn coming up! :) I even added two more extra days . . .

  3. Oh I love this! I remember when you blogged about it and I was so happy that you were getting to experience that Festa. Everyone says that it's the Festa that's most dear to the Venetians' hearts. I'd love to go to it someday but it's hard for me to leave at Thanksgiving time.

    And I laughed when I saw your little "I felt guilty..." comment on the YouTube. I probably would have done the same thing and also felt guilty about it,LOL.

    And I really love that Madonna. How special to receive a gift like that from Venetian nuns! You could make a little shrine for her to have in your house.

    Thanks for the great post!

  4. Cool video! You always do such a fantastic job creating videos and slide shows of your travels. I loved the captions!

    That's a lovely souvenir that will always remind you of this very special feast and the generosity of the nuns.

    I miss Italy so much that lately I've been (secretly) trying to find a way to make my way there before arriving in Spain. I was thinking of spending a week in Venice by myself and then meet my husband in Seville. I don't think I can pull this off because of the additional expense but I'm dreaming of it.

    Have a wonderful holiday weekend! Do you have any special plans?

  5. That's a great video, Kathy! I also love the sound of church bells, I think it's one of my favourite things about staying in Italy!

    And you were brave to shoot video during Mass -- as Girasoli says, I'd be way too chicken. I'm always afraid of being smacked by nuns (we had some very tough nuns teaching Catechism class when I was young.)

    Still, the nuns who gave you the cool Madonna statue with holy water sound exceptionally nice. Lucky you!

  6. Hi Annie, glad you enjoyed the video. It was so great to be there on this special day. To watch all the local residents walk towards the Salute church across the bridge, from the vaporetto and from the side streets while the bells were ringing was so cool!

    You know . . . I actually still feel very guilty about filming during mass. But yet when I watch this video, I'm so happy that I did it. It is pretty funny how my little comment pops up out of nowhere like that! :)

    Great idea about the Madonna. I have it sitting on a shelf near my bed but it's sort of standing by itself. I think I'm going to find something at the craftstore to decorate the base. Maybe a flower arrangement! It really is such a special gift and I absolutely love it.

    Have an awesome long 4-Day Holiday weekend Annie! I'm sure that you have something very cool lined up. Enjoy . . .

  7. Hi Maria, thanks for your comments. The video caption is a new YouTube feature and I love it.

    I love my little souvenir and I was so grateful to the Venetian nun who handed it to me. She was really very nice.

    I don’t blame you for missing Italy a lot. In fact, when I went to Prague in 2006 I went through the same emotions. And what a coincidence that I was also trying to find a way to spend a week in Venice. I would love to revisit Venice some day again myself now that I’ve been reading Annie’s blog. I missed so many great churches and cool shrines last year.

    No really big plans, I have a BBQ GTG, a Music Festival at Hermosa Beach and a really long group ride planned for the long weekend. Also, we may go see that new Woody Allen movie. Sandra said she saw it and loved it! How about you? Do you have a big weekend getaway or big family GTG plans? I hope the weather has cooled down for you!

    Have an awesome long holiday weekend too Maria!

  8. Hi Sandra, thanks for your comments. Hearing those church bells as all the local residents made their way to church was an incredible visual and moving experience for me.

    Maybe if I had a tough nun childhood experience too, I would not have been as brave to video tape during mass. :) Although I still feel very guilty, when I look at the video I’m sort of glad that I did it. And now I feel guilty for making that statement. :)

    Yes, the nuns who gave me my cool Madonna statue were really so generous. And I feel very lucky to have been a part of that special day and to have such a special souvenir gift.

    Have an awesome weekend Sandra! 17 Days to go for you!

  9. Kathy, don't feel TOO guilty - I think I blogged about this but I saw a bunch of Italians (not tourists) pull out their cameras and cell phones to take photos of the Patriarch of Venice during Mass in San Marco! And I bet some of them were making videos too!

    No big plans for the weekend. There is a art show here in NC (Spanish paintings!) and I'm going to try to go to that if I can get tickets. It just opened and it might be too soon to go but I'm going to check into it. It has El Greco and Velasquez and others that you and Maria might be seeing in Spain very soon!

    Other than that, I'll probably cook out and hang out with the cats. Have a good one!

  10. Hi Annie, thanks for sharing your observation with me. Now that you mention it I did see a couple of people with cameras too.

    That's cool that you might be able to go to that art show. I read about El Greco and Velasquez in my guide books and on a couple of websites. One of my must see's in Madrid is to visit the Prado Museum, and I think it has some of their works. I hope you can get tickets for it. That would be cool. I can't wait to see it when I get there.

    I don't have any big plans either just a couple of local stuff going on which I prefer to do rather than going out of town. Long weekends are fun just chilling at home. I wish I had my kittens already . . . . hope Lulu and Maria haven't been knocking over anymore tables. But if so, can you have a camera ready for the photo opp of their expressions. I still laugh thinking about that story!:)

    Have a nice evening and an awesome long weekend Annie! Hope the weather has cooled down for you.

  11. I agree about chilling at home on long weekends...can't wait!

    And it's funny but I keep my camera out all the time but it is SO hard to get action shots of the cats because Maria is such a whirlwind! Pretty much the only time I can get a decent photo of her is when she's a little sleepy. But I will keep trying!

    Have a great weekend!

  12. I love your video!! I secretly recorded a snippet of the wedding we inadvertantly stumbled upon in Amalfi. I couldn't resist capturing the amazing acoustics when the organ was playing the wedding march and then...well I have the dvd-cam running, I may as well lift it up a tad and sneak a shot of the priest and happy couple coming down the's one of my favourite video bits. I should try to upload it on my blog, but I have yet to get that far with my techno skills!

    Love the holy water statue, what a great souvenir. I'm not even Catholic, but one of my prized possessions is a St. Anne medallion given me by a nun in St. Anne de Beaupre in Quebec on my grade 11 school trip. She took a fancy to me (still not sure why!) and kindly pressed the medallion into my hand, telling me it had been blessed by "Papa" in Rome before being sent to the church in Quebec. Even at age 16, I was so incredibly moved by this gesture.

    Oh and PS - love the guitar and gondola ride idea for 2010! I hope we can all make it - how amazing that would be!

  13. Hi Annie, I can see how it would be hard to capture a whirlwind! :) Just now that song in the Sound of Music came into my head . . .

    Have a great weekend too Annie!

  14. Hi Anne,

    Thanks for your comments. That would be so cool to see your video. That was cute how you lifted it higher . . . . It's not so bad to upload to YouTube. You may have to edit it a bit as YouTube has a size limit when uploading. I use a program called "Vegas Movie" which I found easy to use and versatile.

    That is such a great story how the a nun in St. Anne de Beaupre gave you that blessed medallion. Very touching and special gesture. Sometimes it really makes me happy when people do such kind things to others. To be touched with kindness and then to touch others in the same manner is the way life should be.

    Yes, a 2010 Venice GTG would be so cool! And the gonola ride . . . fun, fun, fun. :)

    Have a great weekend Anne!

  15. Kathy, I've been busy the last couple of days but wanted to wish you a fun weekend. Sounds like you have an activity planned for each day. Enjoy!

    My kids are coming home on Sunday and my daughter requested some of her favorite foods for me to fix so we will stay home, watch movies, go swimming and play with Dean. I want to see Penelope's new movie, so I might do that on Saturday.

    I regards to taking photos inside a church during a service, I too feel a bit guilty when doing that but as long as one is discreet and respectful I don't see anything wrong. I have a couple of photos of Pope John Paul when he was walking towards his special door inside St Peter's and I was about 40 ft. away and he stopped in front of the crowd to bless us all. It was a very special moment and I wanted to have recorded it for posterity.

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  16. Hi Maria, thanks for your comments about my little taping. I think the respect issue is what I feel the most guilty about, especially since it was a special day for the Venetians, so I didn't tape for long and held the camera as low as I could so it was not so disruptive.

    Sounds like you'll be having a great day today with your family. And it's cool that you're cooking all of your daughter's favorites foods, I bet she's been looking forward to it. Hope you got to see Penelope's new movie, Sandra said she loved it.

    I'm also staying home this long weekend too. Yesterday was a long ride, today is chill time with live music at the beach, tomorrow a little GTG with plans to watch Penelope's movie later in the evening.

    I also have Tuesday & Wednesday off as well. But those will be for housework chores :) and photo organizing and more Spain reading.

    I wanted to thank you so much for posting that question on the message board. Your list was so great and it seems that others have provided additional wonderful ideas too. I never thought about bringing home spice . . . I love all the ideas.

    Have a great day with your family and keeping Dean cool in the pool! :)


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.