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

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Getting ready for Redentore

I snapped a quick photo yesterday as the vaporetto I was riding passed by the votive bridge being constructed across Giudecca Canal for the Festa del Redentore.  Construction of the temporary bridge takes place during the week prior to the festival (always held the third weekend in July), with the last section pushed into place on Saturday morning. Once the middle section is installed, normal vaporetto routes on the Giudecca canal are rerouted up the Grand Canal for most of Saturday.

The whole city is busy today in preparation for the Festival, most obvious along the waterfront on both sides of the Giudecca, and also in Castello and Sant'Elena.  This morning as I walked through Castello people  were bringing tables and chairs out into the street and stringing lights from one side of the street to the other. On Sant'Elena, people had chairs and tables along the waterfront, and restaurants had moved all their tables outside and strung lights and paper lanterns. I passed people washing and cleaning buckets of mussels and clams for part of the big dinner tonight.   There is quite a party atmosphere in the air !

Festa del Redentore (Feast of the Redeemer) is one of the oldest and most loved festivals celebrated in Venice. It dates back to 1577 when the celebration began to honor the deliverance of Venice from the ravages of the plague. Back in those days, pilgrims crossed a bridge made of boats tied together to get across the Giudecca canal to attend a special mass. Today, the city constructs a 330 meter temporary pontoon bridge, which opens at 7pm Saturday evening when the Patriarch of Venice, the mayor and other dignitaries officially open the bridge with a blessing.  Immediately following the parade of people across the bridge is a special mass in the Church of the Redentore.

Thousands of Venetians and tourists alike will gather both in the lagoon in decorated boats, and along both  banks of the  Giudecca canal to eat and celebrate, waiting for fireworks to begin at 11:30 pm. Food plays a huge part of the Redentore celebration, with everyone eating traditional dishes including Sarde in saor (fried sardines in marinated onions), bovoletti (snails), tiramisu and watermelon.

In previous years I've crossed the bridge at 7pm and watched the fireworks from the steps of the Redentore church. Last year I had dinner with Caterina, my Venetian friend, her family and a few other friends at her family's squero (boat yard) on Giudecca. I've wanted to watch fireworks from a boat in the lagoon, but haven't figured out how I'd last several hours on a boat without bathroom facilities- so that one is still hovering on my "someday" list. And tonight, we are planning something a little bit different. We're going to be on the other side of the lagoon for a change, watching the fireworks from along the waterfront here on Sant'Elena.  


Dianne said...

Local festivals are so much fun. Every time I read one of your posts about a Venetian festival, it brings to mind the many wonderful festivals we observed when we lived in Luxembourg. Have a good celebration in your new neighborhood!

Andrew said...

I'd love to go to the Redentore Festa but we never come to Venice in the summer. To hot and too busy. We'll be there in November for the Salute festival (again!) - and another temporary bridge.

Rob C said...

That looks and sounds amazing. I hope you both have a great time.

Anonymous said...

Did you have a good view of the fireworks from your part of Venice?

karen said...

Rob-Thanks! Have you been here at Redentore before? Had a great time!

karen said...

Yvonne- along the waterfront at Sant'Elena was perfect firework viewing. We were surprised how many people were out all over the park area, thousands!! Less crowded than on Giudecca where we have gone in the past, and perhaps a little bit better, as these folks were all from here or Lido, very few tourists in the bunch. I swear though, one of these years I would love to be on a boat out there in front of ST. Mark's square.

Lily Jones said...

nice post. thanks for the info

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