The Meaning and History of the Redentore Festival


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The Meaning and History of the Redentore Festival

Venice may be world-renowned for its extravagant Carnival, but the ‘Festa del Redentore‘, or the ‘Feast of the Redeemer‘, is another festival that commands attention in the Venetian calendar. 

The Redentore Festival is an ancient Venetian tradition that dates back over 400 years – specifically to 1576 – and is celebrated usually in  July. The event commemorates a joyous moment in the city’s history – the liberation of Venice from a two-year-long plague that had ravaged the city from the summer of 1575 to July 1577, claiming about 50,000 lives. The ‘Festa del Redentore’ was established as a way for the Venetians to express their gratitude for being freed from the ‘terrible plague’.

2019 the most popular festival in town

Redentore Festival: dates and program

This year, the Redentore Festival will be held offering an array of exciting activities to entertain you and your family. The celebrations, however, kick off with the opening of the Votive Bridge , also known as the Thanksgiving Bridge, that links the Zattere to the Church of the Redentore on Giudecca Island

The  bridge remains in use until midnight on Sunday. The highlight of Saturday (15th July 2023) is the floating Redentore Festival, featuring itinerant music on the Grand Canal, Bacino di San Marco, Zattere, and Giudecca from 7 pm to 11 pm. As the sun sets, boats, adorned with garlands and balloons, begin to fill the water near San Marco, where feasts aboard the boats commence. 

The skies of Venice then light up with a spectacular fireworks display at around 11:30 pm, marking a night of jubilant celebration. On Sunday, the focus shifts to religious celebrations. From 4 pm onwards, the Canale della Giudecca becomes a spectacle of boat processions, culminating in a gondola regatta at 5:30 pm. Attendees will also see the twin-oared “pupparini” boats, including some crewed by children. The festivities then draw to a close with a votive Mass at the Redentore Church on Giudecca, built when the festival first began.

How to book for the Redentore Festival

If you’re planning to experience the Redentore Festival as part of your day trip to Venice, you’ll want to make the most of your time in this enchanting city. Booking for the Redentore Festival typically involves making arrangements for travel and accommodation in Venice during the festival period. Remember that Venice can get quite busy during this time, so it’s advisable to book well in advance

Visitors can watch the fireworks and participate in the festivities from many locations in Venice. But for a truly immersive experience, consider hiring a boat to join the floating celebrations on the water. Additionally, you might want to reserve a spot at one of the many restaurants or hotels offering special Redentore menus and views of the fireworks

Venice to Croatia Ferry

Beyond the Redentore Festival: the many splendours of Venice

While the Redentore Festival may be the highlight of your visit, don’t miss out on Venice’s other attractions. Explore the city’s rich history, architecture and culture – and if it’s raining, consider visiting some of Venice’s best museums, such as the Doge’s Palace or the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

The Redentore Festival, with its vibrant blend of history, tradition, and celebration, truly embodies the spirit of Venice. Whether it’s the dazzling fireworks, the lively boat parades, or the solemn religious ceremonies, the ‘Festa del Redentore‘ is a feast for the senses and an experience to remember.

If you’re planning to experience the Redentore Festival as part of your trip, you’ll definitely want to make the most of your time 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 visit in Venice.

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