The Festa del Redentore, also known as the Feast of the Redeemer, is a religious festival celebrated in Venice, Italy. The festival is held on the third Sunday in July and commemorates the end of a devastating plague that struck the city in the 16th century.
The festival was first held in 1577, following a severe outbreak of the bubonic plague that killed over 50,000 people in Venice. In an effort to stop the spread of the disease, the Venetian Senate promised to build a church dedicated to the Redeemer if the city was spared. The plague eventually subsided, and the church, designed by Andrea Palladio, was completed in 1592. The Festa del Redentore was established as an annual celebration of the city's deliverance.
The festival begins on Saturday evening, with a spectacular fireworks display over the lagoon that illuminates the entire city. The following day, a temporary bridge is built across the Giudecca Canal, connecting the main island of Venice with the church of the Redentore on the island of Giudecca. Thousands of people then cross the bridge on foot to attend a mass held in the church.
After the mass, a procession of decorated boats, including the famous Bucintoro, the ceremonial boat of the Doge of Venice, sails through the lagoon. The boats are adorned with flowers and carry the statue of the Redeemer, which is placed on the high altar in the church.
The festival continues throughout the day with feasting, music, and dancing. Many Venetians celebrate with family and friends, enjoying traditional foods like sarde in saor (marinated sardines) and frittole (sweet fritters).
The Festa del Redentore is an important event for Venetians, symbolizing the city's resilience and the power of faith in the face of adversity. It is also an opportunity for visitors to experience the unique culture and traditions of Venice.