If you ask any people which is the most festival in Venice, they will answer: the carnival!

If you make the same question a venetian, he will answer: ” the celebration of Redeemer”, dated back to 440 years ago.

Each year, an extraordinary show of 25,000 fireworks illuminates the Serenissima, while the inhabitants repossess the channels on their small boats. But this party has a dark and terrible past…

The story of the Redeemer’s Day begins with a common black rat. These apparently innocuous rats arrived in Venice on one of the many merchant shipyards,  bringing spices from distant lands together with  the plague.

There are so many lazarets  around the world, but the first one was born in Venice. In fact, even the word “quarantine” was born at this time.

Nowadays we associate the scary mask of the plague doctor to death.

But in reality these dark figures were superheroes of their time. They wore a suit that could be considered as the ancestor of the protective suit, while the mask had a long beak containing aromatic herbs acting as a filter to prevent contagion. 

Venice managed to save itself from the plague by implementing an innovative quarantine strategy, but at the time it was awarded to Christ the Redeemer.

To thank the Lord for having liberated the city from the plague, the Republic of Venice respected the promise of building a Church: the Redeemer.

The Redentor Church  was designed in 1577 by one of the most influential Italian architects, Andrea Palladio. Palladian architecture is a combination of Roman and Greek styles, which for nearly 500 years has inspired all architects around the world.

In 1577 a religious procession took place in Venice on a boat bridge to reach the island of Giudecca and lay the first stone of the Redeemer’s basilica. Since then, tradition has not changed. The procession is one of the most important events of the modern party.

Di Luca Aless - Opera propria, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49781248

The Redeemer’s procession today

Each year, during the festival, Venetians respect the tradition: they construct the temporary bridge and participate in the historical and symbolic crossing to reach the church of the Redeemer.
From the terrible dark period, great things have emerged: an innovative risk management strategy, a magnificent church and a powerful celebration of life handed down to this day. And it does not end there. There is also a modern tradition of the Redeemer. When it falls in the evening, people gather to enjoy the most anticipated event: fireworks.

Font: Wikipedia. Author: No machine-readable author provided. Rogerhoward assumed (based on copyright claims).

Once the fireworks are over, the young people of the city head off to the Lido, where they sit on the sand and wait for dawn.

When: 3rd sunday of July

Where: Venice

Why: to celebrate life 

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