Monday, July 20, 2020

This Year's Festa del Redentore: Music--Instead of Fireworks--In the Air (16 Views)

Venice's Festa del Redentore is famous for its midnight firework show--but not this year. In the wake of the corona virus crisis in Italy, and in acknowledgement of the ongoing danger it presents and the serious damages--both physiological and economic--it continues to cause, city authorities decided pyrotechnics would be inappropriate.

This year the origins of the festa in the plague of 1576 reasserted themselves, and the realities of the present dictated a more subdued and intimate approach.

The bridge across the Giudecca was set up as usual (as you can see above), and the religious festivities in the church were carried out as usual (though in accordance with social distancing guidelines). But the day-tripping and mass tourist crowds were absent, and the bacino of San Marco--typically packed by the afternoon with boats claiming their places for the firework display at night--was basically empty, but for law enforcement, some residents such as ourselves tooling around, and four decorated and illuminated barges carrying live musical acts, in the tradition of the galleggianti of old (as illustrated on the website of the Venice non-profit organization Arzanà, which is dedicated to the study, conservation, and restoration of the traditional boats of the lagoon).

(A complete list of the performers on the boats can be found here, and includes the ever-popular local band Furio e gli Ska-J). 

A mid-20th century example of a galleggiante from the Arzanà website entry on this kind of festival boat

One of this year's four roving galleggianti (at right above, and in images below) performs for diners on the Giudecca

A rain storm on Friday night left the Chinese lanterns lining both sides of the Giudecca Canal bedraggled--but their lights no less bright...

We strung our boat with some lanterns of its own.

The same gallegiante passes beneath the votive bridge...

While another makes a stop in front of La Zecca

A view of the lanterns strung from the Punta della Dogana taken on Friday evening, before the rains transmogrified them

Though no boats anchored this year in the bacino, some did moor along the Grand Canal, to eat dinner and enjoy the passing galleggianti

Other people, as is typical each year, set up their dinner tables on fondamente

Saturday afternoon, before any of the four galleggianti were launched, this mototopo with three lip-syncing ladies passed down the Grand Canal--but, as far as I could ascertain, they were shooting a music video rather than celebrating the festa.
The votive bridge on Friday evening


  1. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant! As always, you are in the right place at the right time, our especial reporter on the spot!!

    1. Thanks very much, Ella, I'm happy that you enjoyed the pics!