“Detourism: La newsletter di Venezia”, the official Town of Venice Tourism Office Newsletter, takes us to discover the origins of the Feast of Madonna della Salute! Enjoy your reading!
Madonna della Salute and the tradition of castradina
For Venetians, 21st November is the Feast of Madonna della Salute, one of the most deeply felt traditions of the city. For four centuries, it has been the day celebrating the end of the plague epidemic that, in 1630, hit Venice and the whole Northern Italy, the same terrible pestilence told by Alessandro Manzoni in his Promessi Sposi.
Every 21st November, Venetians never fail to visit the imposing Basilica della Salute, a baroque masterpiece of Baldassare Longhena. Lighting a large candle and praying the Mesopanditissa icon, here preserved on the high altar, is a tradition that has been repeating since the Basilica was built, after a vow made by doge Nicolò Contarini, to thank the Virgin for liberating the city from the plague. Since then, during the days preceding the feast, a mobile bridge made of boats has always been built on the Grand Canal to allow Venetians to reach more easily the Basilica walking from Santa Maria del Giglio.
This year, for the first time, the bridge will not be built and the access to the Basilica della Salute will be allowed to pilgrims, duly distanced and in a limited number, complying with the provisions communicated on the official site.
Only in these days of the year you can taste, in Venice, castradìna, a traditional dish enjoyed during the feast of Madonna della Salute: it is a tasty soup made with mutton (today more often lamb), which is salted and smoked adding cabbage leaves and onions, to be eaten in the evening of the holiday eve.
Still today, this recipe with ancient roots is a homage to Dalmatian sailors that, during the period when Venice was isolated due to the risk of contagion, remained the only ones to provide the city with food, mainly mutton meat that was preserved using spices.
Find out the true story of castradìna
[source: La newsletter di Venezia, n. 44/2020 del 18.11.2020]
[picture: Simone Corrò on Unsplash]
We are proud to publish some selected contents of such newsletter (see previous post: “Detourism for the Up and Down the Bridges“). On our website, in several episodes, we will only present some samples (see all posts in our archive page “Detourism Newsletter“), but the invitation addressed to all the friends of the Up and Down the Bridges is to subscribe to the newsletter directly.
Special thanks to the Councillor for Tourism for having enthusiastically welcomed this new important collaboration between TGS Eurogroup and the Tourism Office of the Town of Venice and for giving us the precious opportunity to publish on the pages of this blog some extracts from this newsletter, both in Italian and in English.
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