The Redentore is one of the Venetians’ most treasured festivities. In the three years between 1575 and 1577 the Serenissima was tormented by the plague: aided by the high density of the population, the disease spread through the city, causing terrible losses. Almost 50,000 died, which was more than a third of the city’s inhabitants.
On July 13, 1577, the plague was declared definitively over and it was decided that the city’s liberation from the terrible disease should be celebrated every July.
The special moment of the festivity takes place on Saturday night: with the unbeatable backdrop of Saint Mark’s Basin.
At sunset the well illuminated boats, decorated with boughs and coloured balloons, begin congregating in Saint Mark’s Basin and the Giudecca Canal. In the boats people eat traditional food, waiting for the firework display, which begins at 11.30pm and lasts until after midnight.
The weekend ends with a gondola regatta.
In this video I invite the viewer to consider the plague alongside today’s current health concerns.