Festa del Redentore: July 19-20, 2014 – A Traditional Venice Festival:
Usually held on the third Saturday in July, the already busy lagoons of Venice goes into top drive for the Festa del Redentore. On this weekend, Venice celebrates the Feast of the Redemption, one of the most treasured historical festivals in the city’s calender of events. Fleets of boats and gondolas decorated with colourful balloons, lanterns and streamers gather in the canal in front of Piazza San Marco.
Festa del Redentore Program
Saturday – July 19, 2014:
The build-up to the festivities begins on Saturday, July 19th, with the opening of the 330-metre long “Thanksgiving Bridge” linking Zattere to the Church of Redentore on the island of Giudecca. This is Venice’s modern-day adaptation of a vow that was made in 1576.
At dusk, the people in the boats which are moored alongside each other, eat traditional foods and wait patiently for the fireworks display. The big spectacle begins at 11.30 pm when the huge fireworks takes place, illuminating the entire city. The fireworks extravaganza lasts until midnight and St. Mark’s Square and its historical landmark buildings take on a multi-coloured hue as each explosion of fireworks lights the skies.
This spectacular firework display is a huge tourist attraction and a free Venice event for all to enjoy. You can bring your bottle of vino and food and join the locals in this celebration.
Sunday – July 20, 2014:
The Redentore Regattas take place this afternoon. Today is also the religious part of the Redentore. Holy Mass is held at the Church of the Redentore in the presence of the Patriarch, followed by a religious procession.
Festa del Redentore’s historical backdrop
Behind this colourful celebration, there is a grim historical event. The plague in Europe spread through the city, causing terrible loss of lives in the three years from 1575 and 1577. The high density of the population in Venice made the situation worse and almost 50,000 died, which was more than a third of the city’s inhabitants.
On September 4, 1576, the Senate decided that the Doge should announce the Vow to erect a church dedicated to the Redentore (Redeemer), in return for help in ending the plague. They also promised to make a procession to the church on the third weekend of July.