Sunday, July 17, 2016

Firework City: The Festa del Redentore, Just After Midnight This Morning

...with a bit more to come--I think--tomorrow. For images from the last four years of the festa, please see yesterday's post.


  1. Really a wonderfull impressive photo of the fireworks. Thank you. I suppose it was taken from the Viale dei Giardini Publici. It may be the best point of view to appraise really the magnitude of the fireworks. Finally, this year we attended the fireworks from the Giudecca and not from the Punta della Dogana. Three years ago (our first Festa del Redentore), we were very close to the Punta, on an overcrowded bank and really underneath the fireworks. Waiting 11:30 pm was very pleasant. There was a lot of small boats and members of the rowers clubs who were singing Venetian folksongs and the Hymn to the Redentore ‘Mia cara Venèssia, Mia sposa dillèta, Tu fosti Regina, Possente sui mari. Cità di Glorie, Sperànse e d'Amor. Viva Venessia! Viva Samàrco! E viva le Glorie del nostro Leon!’ We even enjoyed some dishes offered by the people. And people were all counting the bells, probably of the Salute, at 10 pm and 11 pm. Great silence when the lights went out, and great enthusiasm during the fireworks. Really a popular feast, in spite of the numerous tourists (in fact many Italian tourists from the Veneto around us). This year we decided to attend to the opening of the bridge at 7 pm. Funny moment, formal and informal, probably very Italian, with the mayor, some officials, some officers and the bishop. Crossing the bridge is really an experience! The atmosphere on the Giudecca’s banks was quite different than three years ago. Much more larger bank, less crowd. Groups (large groups) of young people around table or on the ground, discussing, eating and drinking together, really happy to be together, but each group isolated from the other. Many seemed to live on the Giudecca and went home to bring back food or drinks. We spent nearly four hours between two groups of 25-30-year-old people without exchanging a single word with them. May be we looked like old boring foreigners. Odd moment. Further, a funny rope jump competition between people of any age. Great fun! Along the bank, a barrier of sailing yachts, all pretty good–sized, substantial cost. Another world. No discussion between the bank and the boats. A lot of noise: four hours of the same two-times fashion show music were a bit hard for us. No folksong this year. We have regretted the brass band playing jazz which was on the Campo San Giacomo dell’Orio the day before. But great pleasure to be on this bank, even if we had in mind the terrifying event happened in France two days before. And at 11:30, forty minutes of magic and beauty. But not the same feeling to be underneath the fireworks than at the Punta della Dogana. We will go to the Giardini next time. We visited the exhibition about Aldo Manuce at the Accademia. Wonderful books which seem to have been printed yesterday. We all need to live in and share beauty! (by Auvraisien)

    1. Thanks very much, Auvraisien, for your description of your two very different experiences in two different places--it's very interesting, indeed. I wonder if it's indicative of the degree to which the Giudecca has retained to a higher degree than Dorsoduro its "localness". That is, you can't even find a single fruit or vegetable seller or market anywhere east of Campo Santa Margherita; and Dorsoduro, especially east of Campo S. Margherita, has long been an ex-pat zone, while the Giudecca retains its working-class elements (in spite of a colony of English ex-pats), its particular "Venetian-ness," less diluted by the presence of tourists (no Guggenheim Museum, for example) and the need to cater to them. And as Jan Morris remarked nearly 60 years ago, one of the defining characteristics of Venetians, like many island people, was their insularity. A retired friend who taught at a school on Via Garibaldi has told us the changes in people that she noticed over the years as the parents of her students shifted from being the artisans or locally-oriented workers they had been to doing jobs in the tourist economy. The shift in the economy did not, she thought, exactly improve the characters of either the adults or their children. On the contrary. But, again, I loved your account. We stayed very close to home this year, so I can't even tell you what the Giardini was like (we only watched the fireworks from its eastern end), but I'll be very interested to see what you have to say about it next year.