As happens every year, the Venetians celebrate the end of the plague epidemic that heavily struck the city in 1500. The epidemic, which in Venice alone took the lives of over 50,000 people in less than 2 years, was considered a kind of divine punishment.
In 1576 the Doge proposed to make a solemn vow in order to invoke the end of the plague by building a church “which the successors would solemnly go and visit… for the perpetual memorial of the benefit received”. On 3rd May 1577 the first stone of the church was laid, designed by Palladio, and on the third Sunday of July in that year, the Doge was able to proclaim Venice free from the infection. For this reason, the Festival of the Redeemer is one of the most important festivities for the Venetian population and every year they celebrate in boats in St. Mark’s Basin, opposite St. Mark’s Square, on the evening of the third Saturday in July. The fireworks to celebrate the event, which last more than 45 minutes, finish at midnight; it is a great display both in terms of quality and quantity and the unique setting. On the Saturday and Sunday, Venice is connected to the Island of the Giudecca, where the Church of the Redeemer stands, by a floating bridge about 400 m long, especially set up for the occasion.