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Venice is Hot: Fireworks at the Festa del Redentore

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Venice in the summer is hot. Not only is the temperature high but the locals and the tourists are very busy shopping, and sightseeing. The lagoon is filled with an orchestra of boats all masterfully weaving through the waters. The vessels run the gamut from gondolas to massive yachts to old-school wooden speed boats. But they all come together on one night in July for the Festa del Redentore, and what a festival it is!

The Festa del Redentore is an enormous celebration that has been going on since the late 1500s. It’s to commemorate the end of the plague. Can you imagine a party every year for the past 500 years? It’s when every boat that can float is on St. Mark’s Bay connected to one another. Everyone is happy, a little tipsy, and schmoozing until the fireworks begin at around 11:30 at night, and they are fireworks the likes of which I have never seen before. It’s like getting a front row seat to the World Series of fireworks.

Just imagine hundreds and hundreds of people on boats that are all linked together. Wine, cheese and delicious meats are being consumed. The laughter is everywhere as the revelers wait patiently for the festivities to begin. Like at the Macy’s Parade there is not an empty spot anywhere the eye can see. Then slowly the darkness descends on the crowd. First you feel the boom in the pit of your stomach, then the explosion of colors and designs are utterly breathtaking. You don’t realize it but you begin mouthing oohs and aahs like a chorus that has rehearsed the finale for the millionth time. This year the festival is the weekend of July 20, 2013.

Fireworks during the Festival in Venice

Now here’s the trick. You can just take your friends, get a bottle of wine, and watch the show on the sidewalk. Don’t do it. It sounds painless but standing around waiting is torturous. The empty bottles and cigarette butts all around stop you from sitting and it gets disgusting. The best thing to do is to be in a boat. Go to a gondola stand as early as possible and pre-book your boat. It’s best if you have six people but if you don’t they’ll put you with other couples. It will probably cost around 50 euros each. If you happen to be in Venice in July you have got to see this!

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About Marti Renoud-DiPaola

I am a married New York City teacher with three grown kids who loves to travel, especially in Italy. I am in love with Florence, Italy and I go back every chance I get.
  • Vinnie – The Husband

    Spot on! You described it perfectly. May I add.. It is like a concert of light and timpani drums. The best fireworks show I have ever seen. And being in a gondola underneath it all was an experience I will never forget.

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  • Hilary topper

    Wow… That sounds amazing! Next time I’m in Italy, I’ll plan it around these festivities!

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    Great idea Hilary. Let me know if you need more information for your trip.

  • Jeff

    Very nicely written and revealing look at the “inner” Venice!

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    Thanks Jeff!

  • Jason Johnson

    Great article marti, makes me want to see it myself!!

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    Thanks Jason!

  • Barbra Rubin-Perry

    Never been now this makes me want to go.

  • Tri

    I love fireworks and after reading this post it makes me want to go to the festival. I like getting the insight into how to be there and get the most out of the experience.

  • Marti Renoud-DiPaola

    Thank you for the comment Tri!

  • Tina

    I will say that the idea if Venice in July at first was not appealing. Until we heard of this magnificent event. We planned our trip around this one weekend in July. Hard to believe we would plan a trip around a fireworks display? Marti’s words describe the event perfectly! This is a display that should not be missed! It’s worth the July heat!!!

  • Monica Gerand

    Having never been, your vivid painting of such exciting goings on, only increases my desire to one day take part in this experience!