We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Festa del Redentore 2011 - Part 1

Festa del Redentore is one of the most important festivals for Venetians, my hairdresser Simone reminded me yesterday. Every year since  1577, Venice has been holding the Festa del Redentore to commemorate the end of the Plague.  Venice lost one third of it's population during these devastating disease years. To keep a promise the Venetians made asking God to end the plage, Venetians built the Church of the Redentore on Giudecca Island. Still to this day, Venetians celebrate on the third weekend of July.  In earlier days, people tied boats together to make a temporary bridge and walk across the Giudecca Canal to attend a special mass  on the  festival's opening evening. Today, the city constructs a temporary pontoon bridge which opens at 7pm on the Saturday night of the Festival weekend.  When the gates are opened, people flock across the bridge on foot. People are also lined up along both sides of the Giudecca canal, and on boats in the canal.

 I snapped this photo at about 5:00 pm this evening.  The bridge is empty, but ready for 7:00 pm!

 Along the banks of the Giudecca canal this afternoon, several large party boats were getting ready for the big events later this evening. I also saw about 10 smaller party boats loading up with people over at Piazzale Roma, getting ready to go take their position in the Giudecca canal. Everyone will be eating on the boats, partying and having a good time as they wait for the fireworks to begin around midnight. In my opinion, nobody does fireworks quite like the Italians do.
Along the sidewalks on both sides of the Giudecca canal (this photo is on the Zattere side) lanterns are strung.  Restaurants decorate their patios with colorful streamers and lanterns. Families and large groups of friends set up tables on the banks of the canal or camp out on the sidewalk. There's lots of eating,drinking, dancing and merriment as everyone waits for the fireworks to commence at 11:30 pm.   It's one non-stop party along the Giudecca this weekend. 

We've walked across the bridge along with thousands of others the past 2 years, taking up a position in front of the Redentore Church to watch the fireworks.  This year, we've been invited to watch them from an apartment on Giudecca.  We'll avoid the huge crowds and be 3 flights up.  I'll hope to snap some great photos from here. I think it will be bedlam trying to get home!!!  

Starting around 11:30 pm are several beach parties over on the Lido which will last until morning.  On this weekend, teenagers are allowed to sleep/camp out on the beaches also. 

Tomorrow afternoon there are boat regattas in Giudecca canal.  The schedule is as follows:

At 4 pm, the first race is for young rowers in puparini (type of small rowing boat), teams of 2.
At 4:45, the second race is for all other racers in puparini, teams of 2
At 5:30, the last race of the day is in gondolas, teams of  2 gondoliers rowing.  

  Let the Festa begin!  More to follow tomorrow....


Maxine Oliver said...

Oh I'm jealous...You have such wonderful celebrations....Enjoy yourself and when you have a spritz think of me....LOL....Maxine

Dianne said...

One of the great things about living in another culture is the chance to observe that culture's festivals. We experienced this when we lived in Luxembourg. It's something that is very special! Enjoy yourself and I agree with Maxine -- have a Spritz for me.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

Enjoy the celebrations it sounds wonderful.