Festa del Redentore

The Festa del Redentore is an event held in Venice the third Sunday of July where the fireworks play an important role.

The Festa del Redentore is the event that commemorates the Grace received from the city to end the plague and, at the behest of the doge at the time it was requested, was made the promise that every year, on the day when the city was declared free from the scourge, would be held a procession to the new votive church. Its construction by order of the Venetian Senate (4 September 1576) took place on the island of Giudecca in the area of the Franciscan monastery.

The Chiesa del Redentore as an ex voto for the liberation of the city from the plague of 1575-1577, a scourge that caused the death of more than a third of the city’s population in just two years, was commissioned to Palladio.  

At the end of the plague, in July 1577, it was decided to celebrate the liberation annually, with the construction of a votive bridge.

This celebration became a still active tradition after almost five centuries. As well as others in Venice: the apparition of the Madonna on the island of Pellestrina (1516), which asked for prayers in exchange for the arrest of the Turkish attack, and another ex voto of liberation from another plague, that of 1600, of which Manzoni also narrated, which led to the construction of the Madonna della Salute (by Longhena) and which today is also remembered with a procession on a boat bridge and with the typical dish “castradina“.

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On Saturday, the eve of the festival, fireworks are let off. Preparations begin early in the morning when people begin to decorate their boats, or the small wooden terraces on rooftops from where they can admire the fireworks.

At sunset, Saint Mark’s basin begins to fill with up with boats of all kinds, festooned with balloons and garlands, and thousands of Venetians await the fireworks while dining on the boats.

Around 10 o’clock at night, from pontoons placed nearby the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, the fireworks begin, and Saint Mark’s basin becomes one of the most atmospheric stages in the world.

The fireworks last for around 45 to 60 minutes, illuminating the night and arousing intense emotions in both Venetians and visitors. Once the fireworks are over, the young people of the city head off to the Lido, where they sit on the sand and wait for dawn.

A bridge of barges is built connecting Giudecca to the rest of Venice. Sunday is devoted to religious celebrations.

Celebrations: on the Saturday before the third Sunday in July (not always the third Saturday) a long votive bridge of boats is opened, set up on the Giudecca Canal connecting the island with the Zattere at the level of the Church of the Holy Spirit, thus allowing the pedestrian reaching of the Chiesa del Redentore.

The blessing of the Patriarch of Venice opens the festivities, which takes place on the steps of the Chiesa del Redentore at the time of the opening of the bridge, while the crowd begins its procession to the Giudecca.

This is followed by the first Eucharistic celebration at 7.30 p.m., followed by 0.30 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Sunday: among these, the celebration at 7 p.m. is presided over by the Patriarch and solemnly officiated.

In addition to its religious character, the festival should be remembered for a great fireworks display held in the night between Saturday and Sunday in the basin of San Marco and for the three regattas of typical Venetian boats organized the next day, thus attracting a large audience from all over the world.


For more info here’s the link to the official website:  https://events.veneziaunica.it/it/Festa-Redentore-Venezia-2019