If you’re in Venice on the third Saturday and Sunday in July, be sure to take part in the feast of Festa del Redentore, which commemorates the end of the plague of 1576 and is an important and authentic local event for Venetians.
Every year a floating bridge is placed over the Giudecca Canal which reaches across to the Redentore Church, for the special religious ceremonies which are associated with Festa del Redontore. Here you’ll see locals swarming the waterways and filling the water fronts with decorative tables, ready for a sumptuous and jovial feast.
After the mammoth meal, everyone awaits the main event – the fireworks – which are severely judged by the locals and often evoke quite an emotional response! Locals prepare for the fantastic fireworks displays by adorning their boats, terraces and roof tops with garlands and balloons, which gives the whole city a carnival-esque feel.
Come dusk, Saint Mark’s basin becomes a stage when it begins to fill up with boats covered in these vibrant decorations, as everyone awaits the fireworks which soar from the near by island of San Giorgio. The best spot to view the fireworks is the Giudecca, but it can get very crowded here, so you should also try the Riva degli Schiavoni if you can see over all the boats. For a more remote viewing site, head to Sant’Elena or the Lido. When the fireworks are over, the youngest Italians often stroll to the Lido to wait for sunrise, but after all that celebrating we’ll forgive you for wanting an early night!
The fun doesn’t stop there either. The following day, cross the floating bridge to the Regata del Redentore, for the traditional Giudecca regatta; the exciting boat race of which you can catch the best views of the finishing line from the Redentore church. The main race is watched by cheering crowds who relish in the traditional Venetian style of the brightly-painted vessels and their two standing oarsmen.
Taking part in the two day Festa del Redentore will give you an overwhelming feeling of inclusion to the most traditional and fun-loving Venetian experience that there is. Don’t be afraid to gorge on delicious Italian food and cheer the loudest when the winning boats glide past; the Festa del Redentore should be embraced with abundant vigour.
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