Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7 Views of La Festa del Redentore

To dine as these people are beside the water one must set one's table up in the morning
There were over 120,000 spectators at this year's Festa del Redentore on Saturday, according to local papers, and more than 2,000 boats in the bacino. The firework display was quite grand and lasted for 38 minutes, but just a few minutes into it a substitute gondoliere, made anxious by the chaotic boat traffic all around him, returned his four adult passengers and one child to land and requested his full fare of 300 euro. His passengers, understandably enough, took issue with paying so much for so much less than had been promised and things escalated until the gondoliere started physically assaulting the two men of the boating party.

People wonder how tourism might be reduced in Venice--I suppose this particular gondoliere has hit (quite literally) upon one disreputable method. Police charges were filed, and the gondoliere is also facing professional disciplinary action.

I was happily far away from the scene of that crime, however, and all the other jam-packed lunacy of Piazza San Marco this year: safe on Sant' Elena, where all of these pictures were taken.

The band pictured below playing at Vincent Bar on Sant' Elena, Terabona, will also be performing Friday July 26 at the 2nd Sagra di Santa Marta (runs from July 26-29) at the western end of Dorsoduro. I'll have to see them again before I can adequately describe Terabona, but with--among other instruments--trumpet, banjo, mandolin, and stand-up drum kit, their spirited pleasingly-ragged sound is a bit like a collision of traditional mediterranean music with early New Orleans jazz. I think. Whatever it is, I'd strongly recommend checking them out if you happen to see they'll be playing in Venice.

Terabona performs at Vincent Bar


  1. Great, great photos, Siggie. I really like the one of the happy, smooching couple. You live in the best spot in Venice, I reckon!

  2. Thank you very much, Yvonne; that's easily my favorite pic, too, though at first I didn't even notice the couple as I was intent only on taking a shot of the band. Yes, it's a very nice spot, too--well, except for all those mysterious tourist disappearances that occur here... Alien abductions is one theory...

  3. Hi! I will be in Venice over the Festa del Redentore (and my birthday!) this year and really want to find a viewing spot that isn't too squishy - how do you get to sant'elena from san marco, and will it be a difficult journey before/after the fireworks? Thanks!

    1. I think the most reliable way to get from Piazza San Marco to Sant' Elena is to walk, Emmy. I don't recall the exact schedule with the vaporetti before and after the fireworks--I've never taken them on that night, though I believe they do run between the Piazza and Sant' Elena--but for those without mobility issues the walk from the Piazza down the Riva degli Schiavoni to Sant' Elena takes about 25 minutes or so, and is pretty lively on that night. Especially once you get to Via Garibaldi, after which point people have tables set up for dinner with family and friends. After the fireworks, I suspect any vaporetto running between the Sant' Elena stop (or from the stop just before Sant' Elena, I Giardini) toward San Marco would be very crowded. So if you can manage it, I'd suggest walking, as you might also find a viewing spot along the way. Generally, the spots for tables along the lagoon in Sant' Elena and the riva close to it, are reserved in the early morning of that day.