Il Redentore, the Redeemer festival is one of the most beloved Venice events, really appreciated by the venetians. It is a full weekend of festivities and celebrations that culminates with the magnificent fireworks that are reflected in Saint Marc basin, leaving open-mouthed even those who attend the show every year. It is on the third Sunday of July that Venice celebrates the end of the terrible plague of 1576 that killed 50,000 people. To ask for god intervention, in 1576 the Senat decided to built a small wooden church on giudecca island, the redentore church. On 20th July 1577 the end of the plague was celebrated, thanking the redeemer Christ for the grace received, through a procession. To cross the Giudecca Canal and reach the redentore Church on foot, a bridge of barges was created. From 5 centuries, tradition is still alived and a temporary bridge allow to reach the magnificient church. Deep with us into the story of this redentore festival and into the best events to join.
Weekend Redentore Venice Packages
Are you looking for an accommodation solution to spend the Redeemer weekend in Venice? We have created a few weekend packages that you might like!
Redeemer festival origins: Venice and the end of the plague
The Redeemer festival has its origins in one of the darkest and most terrifying moments for the entire Venice history: the plague of the 16th century. At that time, Venice was a “metropolis” with 180 thousand inhabitants. In just two years, from 1575 to 1577, the plague killed almost a third of them, claiming as many as 50,000 victims, of which the famous painter Titian.
For the whole city it was a frightening and tragic two-year period: the land of the islands was no longer sufficient to bury all the dead and they began to bury one dead on top of another. The fear of contagion was everywhere and there was no scientific knowledge to effectively combat the epidemic. Often superstition and religious faith were simply used. The terrible days of the plague are still remembered by the famous Venetian mask of the plague doctor, invented to protect himself from the epidemic.
In 1576, the Senate, without solution to eradicate the epidemic, decided to ask for divine help by erecting a church on the island of Giudecca: the church of the Redeemer (one of the most famous works by Jacopo Andrea Palladio). In May 1977, the first stone of the church was laid. In july of the same year the doge declare the outbreak of the plague. In order to thank the redeeming Christ for the grace received, celebration and procession were organized. To cross the “canale della Giudecca” and reach the church of the Redeemer on foot, a pontoon bridge made of boats was created. It was the beginning of the festa del redentore, 5 centuries ago.
Il Redentore takes place every third Sunday in July. It is still a religious celebration and popular one with the tradition of the votive bridge and the fireworks. The floating walkway is built on the Saturday before the festival. It is a sort of impressive and entertaining artistic installation that remains a great attraction and allows once a year to get to the giudecca on foot.
The official beginning of the celebrations takes place at the opening of the catwalk with the blessing of the Patriarch of Venice, from the steps of the Redeemer church. Then follows an evening mass presided over by the Patriarch. The famous fireworks display at 11.30 p.m. and then another mass at midnight and a half. After the mass, the festival ends with three regattas during which historic Venetian boats compete.
Festa del Redentore 2023
For most visitors, the main attractions are the crossing of the canal on the catwalk, the beautiful fireworks in the basin of San Marco and the final regattas. In reality the whole city lives a festive atmosphere all the time. Visiting Venice in those days gives the opportunity to experience the city in a completely different way than the Carnival because the participation is deeply felt by the citizens who evokes a very important historical event.
Here are the highlights for the Redentore 2023 festival.
- Grandiose firework display in St Mark’s Basin from 11.30pm on Saturday 15 July.
- Redentore Regattas with three races, one of which reserved for the very young, with pupparini and gondolas with two oars from 4 to 6 pm on Sunday 16 July.
- Closing ceremony with the Holy Votive Mass at the Redentore Church on the Giudecca Island from 7pm on Sunday 16 July.
Il Redentore 2023: where to see the fireworks
Towards evening, while St Mark’s Square is packed with visitors, St Mark’s Basin is filled with boats decorated with lights and decorations. Inside the boats, people eat traditional Venetian dishes, such as pasta and beans and sardines in saor. In the festive atmosphere there are music, dances and orchestras, street artists and lots of fun, until the climax of the evening with fireworks. This fireworks display is one of the most famous in the world and is the highlight of the entire weekend! It’s 40 minutes of pure magic.
It’s 40 minutes of pure magic in front of the San Marco basin. Know that there are a lot of people and that the boats available are very limited. Reserve in advance if you want to see the fires from the water. If you prefer to admire the fireworks of the Redentore from the shore, we suggest you to arrive well in advance from the early afternoon, Riva degli Schiavoni, the Giudecca or the Zattere are the most popular areas.
Redentore Venice by Boat:
The Festival of the Redeemer of Venice by boat
Come and live this great festival of Venice like a Venetian: on board a boat, big or small, in the San Marco basin…
If you want to live the festival of the Redentore by boat, there are several solutions:
Venice Redentore Fireworks cruise
At Vivovenetia, we organize a real party on a boat. Program? From 5.30 pm, let’s begin our navigation in the venetian lagoon. You will be served an aperitif in the panoramic terrace and enjoy the sunset in good company. When the sun goes down, we offer a nice seated dinner with high quality menu. You can embark from Venice Marittima. We have a reserved place to admire the fireworks: fabulous view is guaranteed! Find out more about our Redentore Cruise !
Fest of the Redeemer Venice: Boat party
If you prefer a more intimate Redeemer boat party with a dinner on board with traditional dishes, we recommend you take a look at our proposal for a Redeemer boat party.
A more intimate party and experience for up to 12 people.
Boat rental and private parties for the Redentore
If you are a group and you want to rent a boat for the redeemer to organize your event as you want, we can certainly help you. Many of our partners have boats of all kinds: bragozzo, ecological boat, sailboat, etc.. Know that you need to organize yourself in time if you want to have the choice. If you’re at last minute, maybe we can still get something out for you…
If you want to know more about other events in Venice, please see our sections:
- New Year’s Eve in Venice
- Venice Biennale
- Historical Regatta
- Festival of the Sensa
- Venice Exhibitions