May 18, 2016
This celebration day was established in 1592 to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of 1576.
The Festa del Redentore is an event held every year the third Sunday of July. From the Grand Canal, boats of all kinds and shapes reach ‘Bacino San Marco’ , where the sky is alight with magnificent fireworks until midnight. This is the most cherished festivity by Venetians and visitors.
The Redentore began as a feast – held on the day of the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer – to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of 1576, which killed 50,000 people, including Titian. The Doge Alvise I Mocenigo promised to build a magnificent church if the plague ended. Andrea Palladio was commissioned, assisted by Da Ponte, to build a majestic church on the Island of Giudecca. The church, known as Il Redentore, was consecrated in 1592, and is one of the most important examples of Palladian religious architecture. After the foundation stone was laid, a small wooden church was temporarily built, along with temporary bridge of barges from the Zattere, so that the Doge Sebastian Venier could walk in procession as far as the tabernacle. Afterwards, the Doge made a pilgrimage to the Church of Redentore every year.
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.