The Festa del Redentore
The Festa del Redentore is a traditional festival, celebrating Venice’s deliverance from a 16th C plague and the construction of Palladio’s Church.
This post has been updated to include details of the 2023 Event; staged on the weekend of the 16th and 17th July, 2023
Taking place during the weekend of the third Sunday of July, the Festa del Redentore, or the “Festival of the Redeemer”; combines religious events, the construction of a pontoon bridge, a huge firework display, a regatta and mass celebratory parties with families and friends.
The Church can be reached by pilgrims during the festival, by means of an impressive 330-metre-long pontoon bridge; connecting the Zattere on the southern side of the district of Dorsoduro, with Guidecca island.
The Festa del Redentore – HISTORY
The “Festa del Redentore” began as a feast, held on the day of the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer; to give thanks for the end of the terrible plague of between 1575 and 1577, which killed around 50,000 people; including it was thought, the great painter Tiziano Vecellio; we know as Titian.
The Doge Alvise I Mocenigo, made a promise to God to build a magnificent church, if the plague could be ended. He kept his vow and Andrea Palladio was commissioned, to build a majestic church on the Island of Giudecca.
The new church was built on the place of a former church, dedicated to “Santa Maria degli Angeli”; which was given to the Capuchins. The Capuchin monks, owe their name to the pointed cowl (capuche in Italian) they wore.
After the foundation stone was laid, a small wooden church was temporarily built, along with a temporary bridge of barges from the Zattere; so that the Doge Sebastian Venier could walk in procession as far as the tabernacle
Above: Two views and Floor Plan of “Il Redentore”
Unfortunately, Palladio died in 1580 and the works continued under the supervision of Antonio da Ponte, the architect of the Rialto bridge. In 1592, the church was completed and consecrated by Lorenzo Priuli, Patriarch of Venice; under Doge Pasquale Cicogna.
The Doges, thereafter, made an annual pilgrimage to the church.
The Redentore church is one of Palladio’s finest churches. The facade can be best admired from the Zatteri embankment, opposite.
Externally its wide staircase and huge doorway are especially designed for processions. The interior (above) is very sober, in line with the vows of poverty of the Capuchin monks.
Note: Interestingly the “Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute” was built for a similar reason. This church remembers the third and last major Venetian plague of 1630, in Venice.
PROGRAMME OF EVENTS (2021)
(Please note that although this was the 2021 programme; it still gives you a good idea of the day’s events. Update for 2023 below)
For the weekend of the third Sunday in July,
Preparations begin early in the morning when people begin to decorate their boats, or the small wooden terraces (Altana) on rooftops or prepare tables on the Riva; from where they can admire the fireworks.
19.00 p.m. Opening of the votive bridge connecting the Zattere waterfront with the Chiesa del Redentore; on the island of Giudecca and presentation of the Venetian regatta boat crews.
At sunset, Saint Mark’s basin begins to fill with up with boats of all kinds, festooned with balloons and garlands and thousands of Venetians await the fireworks, while dining on the boats and terraces.
23.30 p.m. Firework display in St. Mark’s Basin
Saint Mark’s basin becomes one of the most atmospheric stages in the world. The spectacular fireworks last for around 45 to 60 minutes, illuminating the night and arousing intense emotions in both Venetians and visitors.
From 16:00 pm – “Regate del Redentore” on the Giudecca canal
16.00 pm children’s twin-oared “pupparini” boat regatta
16.45 pm twin-oared “pupparini” boat regatta
17.30 pm twin-oared gondola regatta
19.00 p.m. – Votive Mass at the Chiesa del Redentore on the island of Giudecca
Festa-del-redentore-2023 – CALENDAR OF EVENTS
On the first day of the feast, a great party is held, completed in the evening by a spectacular fireworks display. The second day of the feast, Sunday, is reserved for religious service and for the Regatta of the Redeemer (Regata del Redentore), a race of typical Venetian boats.
July 16, Saturday:
7.00 pm, the opening of the Thanksgiving Bridge;
11.30 pm, fireworks display in the Saint Mark’s Basin.
July 17, Sunday:
between 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm, the Regatta of the Redeemer, on the Giudecca Canal;
7.00 pm – Votive Mass at the Church of Il Redentore, on the Giudecca island.
Get the full details to be announced later online, at the external links below.
LINKS (internal – external)
The Festa del Redentore The Festa del Redentore The Festa del Redentore