Redentore 2019: the most popular festival in Venice
The event Venice is most famous for may be the Carnival, but there’s another festival that looms large in the Venetian calendar, and that’s the Festa del Redentore, meaning ‘Feast of the Redeemer’. Held on the third weekend of July – this year, the dates are the 20th and 21st – this exciting event has plenty to keep you and your family entertained. Here’s what you can look forward to if you travel to Venice when this spectacular celebration is held.
Feast of the Redeemer: what to expect
The Festa del Redentore has been celebrated since 1576, founded as the Venetians’ way of giving thanks for deliverance from the ‘terrible plague’, so-called because it had been responsible for the deaths of 50,000 people. The end of such a disease was cause for much jubilation, and to this day the event is marked with awe-inspiring fireworks and waterborne festivities.
The celebrations kick off on Saturday, when boats and rooftop terraces are decorated with garlands and balloons in preparation. At 7pm, something to look out for is the opening of the temporary pontoon bridge – known as the Thanksgiving Bridge – which links Venice with the island of Giudecca.
As the sun goes down, the boats make their way to the water near San Marco while those on board are feasting. The fireworks begin at around 11.30pm, lighting up the night sky for nearly an hour, and the Venetians continue partying all night long.
The next day, the focus is on religious celebrations. From 4pm, spectacular processions of boats will be seen on the Canale della Giudecca, the last of which is the gondola regatta at 5.30pm. You’ll also see the twin-oared “pupparini” boats, including some crewed by children. After that, there’s a votive Mass at the Redentore Church on Giudecca, built at the same time the festival began.
Plan your Venice trip
If you’re planning to experience the Redentore as part of your Venice day trip, you’ll definitely want to make the most of the time you have available in this magical city. Wondering what to see in Venice? Here are some ideas for your day trip to Venice – and if it’s raining and you want to go indoors for a while, these are the best 5 museums to see in Venice.