Every year in July, Il Redentore (The Redeemer) Fireworks Display takes place. This festival is a remembrance of the devastating plague that swept through Venice in 1577, when 50,000 people, including the famous painter Titian died. In an attempt to end this plague that had wiped out more than a third of Venetians, the Doge commissioned a church (Il Redentore Church) to be built on the island of Giudecca if the plague ended. This island is easily reached by pilgrims during the
festival by the creation of a 330 metre pontoon bridge.
As a result Venetians and tourists alike enjoy a day of lavish celebrations beginning with decorating their boats and terraces. At sunset those not staying on land, take to the Grand Canal with boats covered in balloons, hanging lanterns and garlands. They then wait for the fireworks to begin around 10 o’clock. This is when St Mark’s basin really comes alive with a fantastic hour long firework display that lights the sky in a wide array of colours. For Venetians this is an intense experience remembering their history. The young then travel to Lido where they wait on the sandy beach for dawn.
To mark the end of the event, Sunday is a day devoted to worship and other religious celebrations taking place at Il Redentore Church.