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ItalyFrom 1630 to 1631, Venice suffered from an outbreak of the plague.

The city’s doge promised the Virgin Mary that if she would rid them of the disease, they would build a church in her honor.

Years later, Venice made good on that promise and built the Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute.

Today, Venetians celebrate the Festa della Madonna della Salute (Feast of Good Health) on Nov. 21 (the official day) to honor her and ask for good health.

The religious celebration really begins Friday with the building of a temporary pontoon bridge from the city center across the Grand Canal to the church, shortening the pilgrims’ journey as they arrive for special Masses.

For details, see

NetherlandsThis weekend, visit the 19th-century Christmas world of Scrooge, Oliver Twist, Mr. Pickwick and David Copperfield when Deventer holds its annual Charles Dickens Festival.

The historical city center will re-create the Victorian world of this famous writer with 900 characters dressed in period costumes and stores decorated with romantic scenes. A Sunday market with 200 stalls will fill the city’s main square.

The event is free, but organizers say visitors should expect to wait up to an hour to enter the event.

Find more information at


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