Enjoy Venice's Festa del Redentore!

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One of Venice’s most popular festivals is about to begin: the Festa del Redentore. Ermanno, one of our local guides in Venice, calls this his “favourite festival of the year” (as it is for many Venetians!) and he’s taking time today to share a bit of information about the festival’s history and program details for 2013. If you’re going to be in Venice this weekend, you won’t want to miss a moment!

The Festa del Redentore (in English “Feast of the Redeemer”) is taking place in Venice this Saturday July 20 and Sunday July 21. Because the event is so popular with locals and tourists, it will be busy and crowded – but the fun atmosphere is worth braving the crowds!

The Feast of the Redeemer is one of the holidays most sincerely felt by the Venetians as it combines both the religious aspect and the spectacular, thanks to the brilliant fireworks display that attracts thousands of visitors on Saturday night. The unbeatable backdrop to the fireworks is the Bacino di San Marco, where a play of light and reflections produces a kaleidoscope of colors over top of the silhouetted spires, domes and bell towers of the city. Tradition dictates that at sunset thousands of boats, decorated with balloons and brightly colored lanterns, begin congregating in Saint Mark's Basin and the Giudecca Canal. By boat revelers enjoy a sumptuous dinner of traditional Venetian dishes while waiting for the fireworks display to start, which begins at 11:30pm and lasts until midnight.

The tradition of the Redeemer dates back to 1577 and commemorates the end of a terrible plague. The date is celebrated with the Church of the Redentore, built by the famed architect Palladio on Giudecca Island, as a vow by the Doge in exchange for help from the Redeemer in ending the plague. During the festival, the church can be reached on a pilgrimage over an impressive 330 metre long pontoon bridge. The celebrations include a solemn mass presided over by the Patriarch and the religious procession, while the weekend ends with a boisterous gondola regatta – it’s one of about 10 major gondola events that take place within the rowing season of Voga alla Veneta.

Here are the program details:

Saturday, July 20, 2013
7pm: Opening of the votive bridge that connects the rafts with the Church of the Redentore on the island of Giudecca.
11:30 pm Fireworks in the Bacino di San Marco (40 min. of fantastic fireworks)

Sunday, July 21, 2013
Races of the Redeemer - the Giudecca canal:
4:00pm Children's twin-oared "pupparini" boat regatta
4:45 pm Twin-oared "pupparini" boat regatta
5:30 pm Twin-oared gondola regatta
7:00pm Votive Mass at the Church of the Redeemer island of Giudecca

Ermanno has many other ideas for how you can spend your time in Venice, including other popular and lesser-known city festivals (like the Chioggia Fish Festival or the Venice Jazz Festival which starts today!) If you’re headed to Venice in 2013, consider getting in touch with Ermanno to start a conversation about what to do with your time in this fabled Italian city.
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