One of the most popular festivals in Venice since 1577
The Festa del Redentore is a popular festival held in Venice every third Saturday of July. It combines a religious theme with a spectacular firework display: the St. Mark's basin hosts a firework display that lights up the roofs, domes and bell towers of the city.
Preparations begin early in the morning when Venetians begin to decorate their boats or the altanas - the small wooden terraces that you see on Venetian rooftops - from where they admire the fireworks, with balloons, brightly coloured lanterns and garlands. It is not uncommon to find people preparing dining tables outside in some calles .
Later a bridge of barges is built connectiong the Giudecca island and the Rendentore church to the rest of Venice.
In the evining the boats flock into the basin and the Giudecca Canal. Thousands of people await the fireworks whilst having a sumptuous dinner of local specialities, even on the boats.
The firewok display begins at 11.30pm and last for around 45-60minutes, well past midnight, illuminating the night and arousing intense emotions in both Venetians and visitors.
Sunday is devoted to religious celebrations and the weekend ends with a series of gondola races.
The Festa del Redentore began as a feast held on the day of the Most Holy Redeemer in 1577. It was first held to celebrate the end the the terrible plague of 1576 which killed 50,000 people. The Doge commissioned the construction of a magnificent church to the architect Andrea Palladio. The Church, built on the Island of the Giudecca, can be reached during the festival thanks to a 330 meters long pontoon bridge.