Venice is a city that loves a festival and the Festa Del Redentore (which means the Festival of the Redeemer) is one of the best of the year. The highlight is a fantastic fireworks display which looks stunning over Saint Mark’s Basin.
One of the most unusual things about this particular Venetian festival is the construction of the Ponte Votivo, the Thanksgiving Bridge, across the main canal from the waterfronts of Zattere to the island of Giudecca and the Church of Redentore there. The bridge is opened to the public around 7pm on Saturday evening so you can walk across the water yourself to see the church.
The best bit happens late in the evening after 11pm. You will see hundreds of locals gathering on the shores of the basin and in colourfully decorated boats on the water waiting for the big show. It is worth heading out early to stake your claim to a prime viewing spot. Good places to watch the fireworks include Giudecca, Riva degli Schiavoni or the Lido.
Once the fireworks are over the traditional night of vigil begins. Usually this means heading to the Lido, which has its own special night-time events and entertainments, and partying until dawn.
The following day the official bit with dignitaries happens, as they cross the bridge and take a Holy Mass in the Church of Redentore. But it is worth sticking around as there is a huge regatta in the afternoon, as this is Venice after all. The regatta consists of races of the twin-oared “pupparini” boats and the whole thing culminates in a grand procession of boats of all shapes and sizes across the basin.
Whatever you decide to do during Festa Del Redentore just bear in mind that the usual water taxi services may not be as regular or reliable as normal.