Minor basilica (Latin: Basilica minor, Basilicae minores in plural) is a title given to some Roman Catholic churches. By canon law no Catholic church can be honoured with the title of basilica unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom.
In relation to churches, writers on architecture use the term "basilica" to describe a church built in a particular style. The early Christian purpose-built cathedral basilica of the bishop was in this style, constructed on the model of the semi-public secular basilicas, and its growth in size and importance signalled the gradual transfer of civic power into episcopal hands, which was under way in the 5th century.
In the 18th century, the term took on a canonical sense, unrelated to this architectural style. Basilicas in this canonical sense are divided into major ("greater") and minor basilicas. Today only four, all in Rome, are classified as major basilicas: the major basilicas of St John Lateran, St Peter, St Paul outside the Walls, and St Mary Major. The other canonical basilicas are minor basilicas.
Santa Maria della Salute (English: Saint Mary of Health), commonly known simply as the Salute, is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica located in the Dorsoduro sestiere of the Italian city of Venice. It stands on a narrow finger of land between the Grand Canal and the Bacino di San Marco making the church visible when entering the Piazza San Marco from the water. The Salute is part of the parish of the Gesuati and is the most recent of the so-called plague-churches.
In 1630 Venice experienced an unusually devastating outbreak of the plague. As a votive offering for the city's deliverance from the pestilence, the Republic of Venice vowed to build and dedicate a church to Our Lady of Health (or of Deliverance, Italian: Salute). The church was designed in the then fashionable baroque style by Baldassare Longhena, who studied under the architect Vincenzo Scamozzi. Construction began in 1631. Most of the objects of art housed in the church bear references to the Black Death.
The dome of the Salute was an important addition to the Venice skyline and soon became emblematic of the city, inspiring artists like Canaletto, J. M. W. Turner, John Singer Sargent, Francesco Guardi and Laza Kostić.