International Travel

Thu, 13 Jul, 2017Danielle McCarthy

A guide to Venice's Festival of the Redeemer

A guide to Venice's Festival of the Redeemer

The Venetians consider it their favourite festival, so join in with the vibrant atmosphere of Festa del Redentore.

What is it?

One of the most important traditional events in Venice’s calendar, the Festa del Redentore dates back to the 16th century. It marks the end of a terrible plague that struck the city from 1575-1577, killing 50,000 people, one third of Venice’s population. When it was over, the city built the Il Redentore church to thank Jesus (the Redeemer) for answering their prayers.

The modern festival combines religion and celebration, and kicks off with a huge fireworks display that lights up the famous St Mark’s Square from 1130pm on the Saturday night. Fleets of boats and gondolas decked out with flowers and other decorations fill the canals around the square, making for an unforgettable sight. A 330-metre Thanksgiving Bridge is built between the main promenade area known as Zatterre and the Il Redentore church. People line the bridge to watch the show and feats on traditional Venetian delicacies.

On the Sunday afternoon, a huge mass is held at the church followed by a traditional religious procession.

Where is it?

The Festa del Redentore is held in the centre of the city of Venice in the northeast of Italy. The Il Redentore church is on Giudecca, one of the city’s quieter islands and a three-minute ferry ride from St Mark’s Square.

When is it?

The festival is held over the third week of July every year, with the official celebrations running from Saturday evening into Sunday. The whole city is in party mode during this time so expect to see many other celebrations popping up everywhere.

How much is it?

Free! None of the official events have entry fees, though you will need to get there early to secure a spot.

Have you ever visited Venice?