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I Went To The Redentore Festival In Venice And Here’s Why Everyone Loves It

I Went To The Redentore Festival In Venice And Here’s Why Everyone Loves It

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If you are looking for something fun to do with friends, you definitely need to check out the Redentore Festival, you will not regret going!

Venice is one of those cities you can’t help but falling in love with. It’s eclectic, magical and mysterious. What’s shocking though, is that your perception of the city changes radically, according to the seasons: in winter, you are surrounded by mist and fog and you can’t see the boats in the canals, but you can hear them, honking their way through the Canal Grande; in summer, it’s ridiculously hot and busy during the day, but at night, when all the tourist go back to the mainland, it becomes empty and silent – except for the third Sunday of July, when the Venetians celebrate The Redentore Festival, and the city is full of people, music and lights. I went there this year, and here’s why everyone loves it!

1. The history behind the festival.

The historical events behind the Redentore Festival make the celebration one of a kind. Established in 1576 by the Venetian Senate, the festival began as a feast to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague that killed over 50,000 people in Venice. The Doge Alvise I Mocenigo also commissioned the building of a church, on the island of Giudecca, in order to thank God for the miracle. The church, consecrated in 1592, is now called Church of Redentore – which in Italian means “redeemer”. These historical details make the festival a unique experience, famous for its sense of community and participation, not only for the Venetians, but also for all the tourists that love Venice.

2. One-hour-long fireworks on Saint Mark’s Basin.

At sunset, thousands of Venetians converge with their boats in Sanit Mark’s Basin, waiting for the fireworks to be set off near the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. You can see people dining on their boats, or drinking their aperitivo. Some of the boats are also equipped with stereos and play loud music, people dance and sing, and even if you are not on a boat, you feel part of a gigantic party that has infected the whole city. Some of the rooftops and terraces of Venice are also decorated for the occasion, and people gather there to see the fireworks, which start around 10 o’clock and last up to one hour! You can watch the fireworks from Piazza San Marco too, or reserve your place on one of the rooftops on Canal Grande.

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3. The boat-bridge to the Redentore Church.

After the plague ended, the Doge also promised to make a pilgrimage to the Church of Redentore every year. The tradition still continues, and on the Saturday before the festival, a bridge made of boats connects the main city of Venice to the Island of Giudecca. The boat-bridge, adorned with lanterns and lights, offers a breath-taking view of Saint Mark’s basin, filled up with boats of all sorts, festooned with fairy lights, flags and balloons – I can assure you, it’s a view that will leave you speechless!

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4. The food.

Food and the conviviality represent a big part of the Redentore Festival. People often arrange picnics on the beach to watch the fireworks, or bring their own bottle of wine and sit on the stairs of a bridge, waiting for the show to start. Most of the restaurants are open till late and offer a great selection of Venetian food, especially seafood and typical pasta dishes. In particular, I would recommend bigoli in salsa, a pasta dish made with thick fresh spaghetti and a creamy sauce of onion and anchovy. Venice is also famous for its spritz, a drink made of prosecco, bitter liqueur and sparkling water: try it together with the traditional Venetian canapes (cicchetti) – they’re perfect if you’re feeling a bit peckish!

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Have you ever been to the Redentore Festival in Venice? Let us know in the comments below!

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