One of the most famous celebrations of the Venetian tradition is certainly that of the Redentore. The Festa del Redentore, held the third weekend in July, has deep roots that sink into the history of the lagoon city.
In 1575 Venice was struck by a new wave of plague, similar to that which decimated the European population during the 1300s.
The Serenissima, as a maritime power in the Mediterranean Sea, boasted a sustained commercial exchange with several Eastern countries. Probably because of this phenomenon, the mice that entered merchant ships were the vectors of this disease.
The count of Venetian dead was merciless, about 50,000, almost a third of the city’s population.
To cope with this emergency, in addition to health precautions such as the confinement of the sick in the Lazzaretto, in 1576 the Doge decided to put a vow to Christ the Redeemer by commissioning the famous architect Palladio – known for his architectural talent to this day known as the Palladian style – the construction of the Basilica of the Redeemer on the Giudecca Island.
In 1577 the “black death” ceased to claim victims in the city.
To honor this vow, every year the Venetians build the so-called votive bridge, a floating bridge composed of dozens of boats that cross the Giudecca canal and that allows the pedestrian connection to the Basilica of the Redeemer.
This tradition has persisted for over 400 years and since then thousands of faithful walk in procession through the votive bridge to bring their prayers to the Basilica.
But the feast of the redeemer has not only a religious significance. For several years it has been known throughout the world for the beauty of the fireworks show.
In fact, being able to admire the fireworks from Piazza San Marco reflected on the waters of the lagoon is a unique spectacle that attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The following day, Sunday morning, you can watch the Regata del Redentore with hundreds of Venetian boats parading along the Giudecca Canal.
Spending a weekend in Venice during the Festa del Redentore is probably one of the best times to get to know this city from different points of view: traditions, religion and entertainment.