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Everything You Need to Know about the Venice Festa del Redentore
Waiting for the Festa del Redentore di Venezia (Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer of Venice) 2019 – Past and Present.
The Festa del Redentore in Venice is probably one of the most beautiful events in all of Italy. The event is a crossroads of religious and folkloristic meanings, and in fact, it wants to be both a sign of thanks for having overcome the terrible plague that struck in the sixteenth century, and an ideal opportunity to create a magical festive atmosphere, complete with dinner and a boat parade (for those who are lucky enough to afford it) at night, and fireworks to light up the San Marco Basin.
History of the Festa Del Redentore
Historically, being a center of commerce with wide sea routes and lots of international traffic, the port of Venice has not only seen all kinds of goods transported in and out, but also the arrival of many diseases. In fact, several serious plague epidemics struck the city over the centuries, which led to the construction of the Church of the Redeemer (to beg for the end of the plague) on the Giudecca island under the direction of Andrea Palladio and, subsequently, of the church of Santa Maria della Salute, whose feast takes place every year on November 21st and celebrates the end of epidemics. Inside the Basilica of the Redeemer there are works of great value, such as paintings by Jacopo Tintoretto and Paolo Veronese.
The Venetian event involves the construction, on the Saturday before the fireworks show, of a “votive bridge” (“votive” meaning an offering in fulfillment of a vow), a temporary mobile structure that is created on the Giudecca canal and joins the Zattere with the Giudecca. The bridge is undoubtedly a means to reach the magnificent church and to allow the population to pray to Christ the Redeemer, but also serves as a symbolic representation of the pilgrimage of human life. Just imagine that in the past the votive bridge rested on boats, now instead floats are used!
The Beauty of the Event
The ritual of the Redeemer in Venice provides that on Saturday evening hundreds of festively decorated boats with balloons and laden tables gather in the Giudecca Canal and in the San Marco Basin. Along with thousands of tourists and locals, who crowd along the illuminated shores, there is an impressive fireworks display of sounds, lights and colors, reflected in the waters of the lagoon creating an almost unique effect and emotions. The fires, called “foghi” in Venetian dialect, begin shortly before midnight, usually at 11.30pm: sounds, lights and colors burst into the lagoon, creating a magical and unique spectacle, where countless light effects are reflected on the water, creating a unique, cheerful and unforgettable atmosphere for tourists and Venetians.
Insider Tips to Enjoy the Redeemer’s weekend.
If you arrive expressly in Venice to admire this unique event in Italy, MyPass Venezia gives you some suggestions on how to be best organized for this short weekend:
1. Transportation: Venice can be easily reached by train, stopping at the Santa Lucia station; by car: booking your parking in time at the Municipal Garage located in Piazzale Roma. Once in Piazzale Roma or at the Santa Lucia Station, you can reach any part of the city, including the historic center, using ACTV public transport, the famous vaporetti.
2. The event of the Redeemer is completely free and there is no need to buy any tickets!
3. If you arrive on Friday evening or Saturday morning, we recommend a trip “out of town” to the smaller islands of Burano and Murano, always reachable by ACTV public transport. Burano hosts an interesting lace museum, while Murano gives us a beautiful glass museum, which is really worth visiting.
4. You can choose two different locations to best admire the fireworks display: cross the votive bridge at 7pm from the Zattere area to reach the magnificent church of the Redentore, on the island of Giudecca; alternatively, position yourself along the San Marco Basin.
5. Given the huge influx of tourists and locals at the event, we also recommend having dinner in the late afternoon in one of the countless “bacari” (a sort of taverns) to taste the “cicchetti” (similar to Spanish tapas) with a glass of Prosecco wine from Conegliano. And be ready to head to one of the two suggested locations.
6. Enjoy Venice at night with a walk along its famous canals, because it’s magical!
7. The following Sunday, go to the Sestiere (neighborhood) of Cannaregio to visit the Jewish ghetto, with the various synagogues and the Jewish museum: not to be missed!
8. On Sunday afternoon in the Giudecca Canal the regattas will alternate with historic Venetian boats such as the “pupparini”: certainly an exciting experience!
If you really want to organize this Venetian gateway in the best way, MyPass Venezia recommends you to book and buy tickets and / or passes early to get around Venice with ACTV public transport, to visit the smaller islands (including the two different museums) and book your parking space at the municipal garage located in Piazzale Roma.
FESTA DEL REDENTORE PROGRAM 2019
SATURDAY 20 JULY
7:00 pm – Opening of the votive bridge that connects the Zattere with the Chiesa del Redentore to the Giudecca island
11.30 pm – Fireworks display in the San Marco Basin
SUNDAY 21 JULY
REGION OF THE REDEEMER – Giudecca Canal:
At 4.00 pm, the very young children’s regatta on pupparini with 2 oars
4.45 pm – regatta on pupparini with 2 oars
5.30 pm – regatta on gondolas with 2 oars
7.00 pm – Giudecca Island, at the Church of the Redeemer Holy Mass
Have you been to the Festa del Redentore? What did you think? What are your suggestions for future visitors?