The Venice Feast of the Redeemer is one of the most famous and spectacular events in the Venetian city.
The occasion has distant historical origins, dating back to the year 1577, when the terrible plague that had struck the city two years earlier ceased to torment the population; the joy of the Venetians was such that they wanted to build a temple for Christ the Redeemer, and the task of designing the building was assigned to one of the best architects of the time: Andrea Palladio.
The works were completed in 1592 and since then every year the brotherhoods and religious people have gathered to celebrate the memory of the end of the epidemic of ’77.
The festival is held every year on the third Sunday of July, but in reality the celebrations kick off the Saturday before, when a long votive bridge of boats is opened that connects the Fondamenta delle Zattere with the Church of the Redeemer crossing the entire Giudecca Canal.
When the bridge opens, the patriarch of Venice gives the blessing while the attendees walk in procession towards the Giudecca. In the meantime, masses are also held on both the Saturday and the Sunday, with the Sunday mass at 19:00 which also sees the participation of the patriarch.
The streets are filled with stalls and lights, and between the Grand Canal and the San Marco Basin there are a large number of boats that get into position to admire the fireworks display at 23:30.
This fireworks display, the heart of the two days of celebrations, organized with great fanfare with a breathtaking choreography of fireworks, lasts until midnight: lights and colors fill the sky of Venice creating a unique, almost fairytale atmosphere.
On the Sunday, the Regattas of the Redeemer are held, that is, parades of individual boats with oars along the Giudecca canal, from the famous gondola to the unique pupparini with two oars.
At 19:00 Holy Mass is held on the Giudecca island at the Church of the Redeemer, which concludes the cycle of celebrations; however the fun continues in the following hours until late at night.
The Feast of the Redeemer is linked to the famous Pink Floyd concert in Venice on 15 July 1989; the band played on a floating stage set up for the occasion in front of the Basilica of San Marco on the Sunday of the holiday, and a large number of boats full of fans gathered around to attend the event; it is estimated that in total there were around 200,000 spectators, while the worldwide live Rai broadcast reached 100 million viewers.
Despite the scope and success of the concert, it was harshly criticized because of the bad organization that characterised it, which led to many problems of public order.
If you plan to book a holiday in Venice, perhaps in view of the unmissable Feast of the Redeemer which this year will be held on 17 and 18 July, it will be useful to know that to reach the Venetian capital the most convenient connections are trains, taxis or buses and transfers that also connect the nearest airports.
All you have to do is to leave for the floating city, relax and get lost in the wonders of the Venetian canals decorated for the Feast of the Redeemer!