The Redentore - Venetian Fete
Dear guests, welcome back to our newsletter, the 7th now!
This time the subject is a very nice and typical Venetian fete - the Redentore (Redeemer).
It always happens in July, and is a traditional festival which pays homage to the Redeemer and consists of a pilgrimage over a boat-bridge, a solemn mass, and wonderful fireworks and collateral events and regattas. It takes place the third Sunday in July, which this year is the 15th, and the Saturday preceding it, this year the 14th.
What is extremely interesting is the fact that even if this tradition is partially religious and partially secular, the Redentore fete has its roots in a terrible plague which hit Venice in 1576, and during which approximately 50,000 people were killed (for art lovers, Titian himself died in those terrible days). So the Doge (who, at that time was Alvise I Mocenigo) made a vow to build a wonderful church if the plague ended. The construction of the Redentore church, then, was commissioned to the famous architect Andrea Palladio, and it was consecrated in 1592, becoming one of the best examples of Palladian architecture. In the following years, the Doge made an annual pilgrimage to this church utilizing a temporary bridge of barges built between the Zattere and the Giudecca island (a very short walk from Ca’ Pisani!).
So, from that time onwards, the Redentore has been always celebrated, year after year, and on Sunday you can observe many believers following their priests along the Zattere, heading to the temporary bridge and then crossing it to reach the Redentore church - that day is almost completely dedicated to religious celebrations.
On Saturday, on the other hand, people get ready for celebrating the fireworks which are seen at their best from the water (especially from the Grand Canal). Early in the morning Venetians start decorating their boats – small or big, it does not matter – and then in the next hours Saint Mark’s basin begins to fill up with boats of all kinds, decorated by garlands, balloons and with meals of typical Venetian dishes (‘pasta e fagioli’, - pasta and beans, ‘baccala mantecato’ – creamed codfish, etc.), and quite a few bottles of wine, preferably prosecco. This fete is really loved by all in the nearby lagoon - fishermen from Chioggia come very early on that day to berth their trawlers at the Riva degli Schiavoni (between San Marco and Arsenale) and start cooking their fish, creating a lot of smoke from their grills. Usually by 6 or 7 PM the basin is covered with the boats and people start eating and drinking, some of them also dancing to the rhythm of dance music. Around 11:30 PM, the fireworks are started from pontoons at San Giorgio island, and a wonderful show takes place. They last approximately half an hour, and when finished, tradition says that you eat watermelon and then head off to Lido island, to wait for dawn from the beach (but this is usually stuff for the very young people!)
Of course, fireworks can be admired also from the shores, and if on that evening you walk along the Zattere or Riva degli Schiavoni or even Giudecca you will see incredibly long tables arranged by people living in those areas. A few years ago there was a big disappointment because part of the Riva degli Schiavoni was completely blocked by a big cruise ship preventing sight of the fireworks to Venetians seated along the shores, so now there is a tacit agreement that ships arriving in Venice during the Redentore weekend, moor at San Basilio, where no tables are usually prepared.
All this said, why you do not come to experience with all Venetians this wonderful fete? You can book through our website, using the promotional code capi03 for preferred clients ( second page box ‘special code’ ). We have only few rooms available!
Looking forward to welcoming you, we wish you all the best!
Marianna Serandrei and the staff of the Ca’ Pisani hotel