Venice is an amazing city to visit during festival times, writes Melanie Renzulli at Tripsavvy, offering a month-by-month list of the best occasions, while Anne Hanley gives some more detailed description of Venice’s different festivals at Time Out. For centuries Venice’s masters have loved the pomp and ceremony of festivals – saints’ days, deliverance from plagues, military victories, even military defeats. Apart from the Festa di San Marco, which celebrates the patron saint of Venice on the 25 April, the city’s four other knock-out religious festivals are:
Festa della Sensa (May): This is an “ancient celebration of the relationship between Venice and the Sea,” explains Venice Kayak, and takes “the form of a symboli marriage ceremony where Venice, represented by the mayor and the patriarch, throws a golden ring into the sea to celebrate the union between the city and the sea.”
Festa del Redentore (July): “Probably the most spectacular festival in Venice,” says A Blog About Venice. To celebrate the end of the plague, which killed 50,000 people in 1576, and resulted in the building of the Redentore church, “the Ponte Votivo of the Redentore, a bridge of barges is built across the Giudecca Canal for the two days of the festivities.” There’s also a huge fireworks display.
Regata Storica (September): “This event has been staged annually since the 12th century,” writes Tom Kington in the The Guardian. The parade down the Grand Canal “re-enacts the water parade organized in 1489 to celebrate the return to Venice of Caterina Ornaro,” the Queen of Cyprus who gave her kingdom to Venice, explains Veneto Inside. The opulent parade, captured on film by Rai, is followed by a series of hotly contested rowing races.
Festa della Madonna della Salute (November): “If ever there was one day when Venetians reclaimed part of the city for themselves,” this festival is that day, says Dream Discover Italia. “An estimated 100,000 people come to worship over the week with 5-6000 people in and around the Church at any one time during the day.”
Even today, Venice is still in the business of fashioning new festivals. The ever-expanding Biennale programme includes the famous September Film Festival, now in its 74th year. In addition, there’s an international contemporary Music Festival and a contemporary Theatre Festival. In 2010 a new design festival, Design.VE, launched to celebrate the relationship between design, arts and crafts for which the city has long been recognised and in 2017 the centuries-old craft of Venetian glasswork got its own week-long festival, Venice Glass Week, dedicated to exploring one of the city’s key creative endeavours with exhibits in city palaces and workshops held in Murano’s secretive glass furnaces.
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