O sole mio … a sunset gondola ride past Venice’s iconic Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute may make you break out in song, but it also might make you give thanks for modern medicine. The famous church, immortalized by painters Canaletto and John Singer Sargent among others, is often called just “Salute,” which means “health.” This is an apt name for a church built in 1631 to beseech divine assistance in stemming an outbreak of the Black Plague that claimed over a third of Venice’s population. That job is over, and now Salute can relax and enjoy the view over the Grand Canal, listening to the songs of the gondola drivers.
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