The Feast of the “Redeemer”


Event in progress on the 3rd Saturday and Sunday of July 2019 in Venice

The Feast of the “Redeemer” was born in the sixteenth century as a celebration of the end of a devastating plague that decimated the population of Europe. Venice was not immune to the contagion and counted more than 50,000 victims among the population so that the doge Alvise Mocenigo vowed to erect a temple in thanksgiving to the Redeemer, a vow that was later dissolved by his successor, the doge Sebastiano Venier, who called a competition for the construction of the temple that was won by the famous architect Palladio.
The first stone was laid on May 3, 1577, the day of the invention of the Holy Cross of our Redeemer, thus initiating a Christological program that would underlie all the choices inherent in the church, including the imposition of austerity chosen by the Capuchins to whom the project of Andrea Palladio responded perfectly.
The church dominates the panorama of the Giudecca and is a reflection of Palladio on all the existing Renaissance architecture, the attempt to reconcile the Christian church with all the elements of the classical temple (for more information on the construction visit the page Church of the Redeemer).

 
Nowadays, the feast of the Redeemer is certainly the most important moment for the city of Venice and its inhabitants, who gather on the banks of the Giudecca already in the morning to find a place in the tables that are traditionally arranged for outdoor dining.
The island of Giudecca is connected to Venice by a bridge of floating platforms (in the beginning the bridge was made up of 80 galleys) that is passable until 10.30 in the evening. The bridge ends symbolically in front of the facade of the church of the Redeemer.
Towards evening the basin of San Marco is stormed by all types of boats decorated with lights and festoons. On board the traditional dishes of the festival are served: pasta and beans, sardines in saor, wine in profusion, dances and music until the climax of the festival: the pyrotechnic explosion of fireworks.
The scenery, as you can see from the photos on the right, is superlative: Venice dresses up and celebrates itself through a rite that has been the same since 21 July 1578. At the end of the “fires”, all the boats sail along the Grand Canal in a spontaneous parade or reach the Lido to wait for the sunrise on the beach, as tradition has it.
The next day is the time for religious celebrations in the church of the Redeemer and rowing competitions that always accompany this day.