La Festa del Redentore in Venice

Wed, 07/15/2009 - 06:34
Words by Michelle Fabio

One of the biggest celebrations in all of Italy happens every third weekend of July in Venice: La Festa del Redentore.

As with many Italian feasts, the Feast of the Redeemer dates back to the times of the Plague. To mark the end of this devastating period in La Serenissima's history, the Doge commissioned none other than Andrea Palladio to design and build an impressive church on the island of Giudecca, an island in the Venetian lagoon.

The church was consecrated in 1592 as La Redentore, or The Redeemer, and remains one of the greatest examples of Palladian religious architecture.

Soon thereafter, the Doge began yearly pilgrimages to La Redentore, and now thousands of Venetians and visitors from all over the world continue the tradition with a celebration every year. As you'll see from the videos, the two most important parts of the celebration are the music and fireworks on Saturday night, which can last up to an hour.

In anticipation of the big event, spectators prepare their boats and terraces with brightly coloured decorations and soak in the Venetian sunshine, enjoying dinner and drinks in the Grand Canal as they wait for the show. Religious services are held on Sunday.

Check out past celebrations, both before and during the fireworks:

Have you had the privilege of being in the Grand Canal during La Festa del Redentore? Is it as crazy as Martedì Grasso?