See Fireworks and a Gondola Regatta in Venice in July
If you're in Venice on the third weekend in July, you might wonder why everyone collectively decided to get up early on a Saturday morning and start decorating boats, terraces, and rooftops. You'll be in for a pleasant surprise because when night comes, fireworks will light up the sky for the Festa del Redentore!
The Festa del Redentore, or "Feast of the Redeemer," dates back to 1577, when Venice finally saw the end of a two-year-long plague that ravaged the city, killing approximately 50,000 people. To thank God for deliverance from the plague, Andrea Palladio was commissioned to build the now-iconic church known as "Il Redentore" on the Island of the Giudecca.
Today, the atmosphere in Venice is rendered even more beautiful during this weekend thanks to the centuries-long traditions surrounding the Festa del Redentore. Venetians spend the day on Saturday decorating their boats with balloons, lanterns, and all sorts of colorful decorations, and at dusk they set out to moor St. Mark's Bay and the Giudecca Canal. The long and warm summer evening is spent enjoying a traditional Venetian dinner on the boats, waiting for the fireworks. At 11:30pm the fireworks start, the colorful explosions reflecting in the canal waters and lighting up the skyline until past Midnight.
On Sunday the festivities continue with a gondola regatta, followed by mass at Il Redentore. Those who celebrated a little over-enthusiastically the night before have no excuse to skip this last bit of the festival! Mass takes place in the evening and the Island of the Giudecca can be reached for a limited-time only by crossing the temporary pontoon bridge across the Giudecca canal. Constructed especially for the event and reaching an impressive 330 meters long, the gondola chain is one of Venice's most famous bridges for good reason, even though it only lasts for the weekend.
The charm of Venice is stunning all year long, but if you're looking for a spectacular experience, the Festa del Redentore is an unforgetable event!