The Redentore Festival
In 1575 Italy was hit by a terrible plague epidemic that lasted for two years and made 50.000 victims. If you carefully look at Venetian architectures and at the urban structure, you will surely notice that Venetians are extremely religious people. Redentore (Redeemer) is the name of a basilica designed by Andrea Palladio in the Giudecca island: this church, together with the related annual celebration, represent the immense gratitude of a city moved by religious ideals, still untouched through centuries.
The Redentore Festival gathers together humble families, noblemen, groups of friends and, todays, tourists and people from out of town.
The event always takes place on the third Saturday night of July, in a cheerful atmosphere, with everyone looking for the best place on the Giudecca shores, Zattere, Riva degli Schiavoni, or on their boats. Venetians gather all together, looking at the inimitable stage of the Bacino di San Marco, where the fireworks will explode half an hour before midgnight in a kaleidoscope of color, lights and reflexes between the steeples, domes and bell towers: one of the most unique experiences that one can live in the city.
The Giudecca canal is full of boats of any kind, decorated with branches, fronds and the classic “baloni del Redentor”: very peculiar, kitsch and picturesque lights, built in colored paper lanterns and lightened up by a candle.
Wherever you are, if you take a look around you will find out that the tradition also lives in the dishes that everyone is eating and in the abundant wine drunk while waiting for the fireworks.
Watermelons, rice salad, beans and onion, “bovoleti con agio e ogio” (snails dressed with garlic and oil) and wine. Venetians wait for the fireworks in the moonlight while they enjoy the two most typical dishes: sardines “in saor” and stuffed duck.
We suggest you prepare “bovoleti con agio e ogio” to enjoy them during the Redentore evening and anyway at least once during your stay in Venice: the recipe is extremely easy and you can prepare it yourself.