Dating back to the late 1500s, this is one of the most important and spectacular religious festivals in Venice's calendar. In 1576 a plague killed approximately 50,000 people and a promise was made by the mayor to build a magnificent church - if the plague ended - to thank God for the end of the plague. During the following year, the plague ended and the promise was fulfilled. The church was built on the Venetian island of Giudecca by Andrea Palladio and Da Ponte. After the laying of the foundation stone, a temporary wooden church was built along with a temporary bridge of barges, so the mayor could walk in procession. To this day, on the third Sunday in July, gondolas are tied together so the locals and tourists can make a pilgrimage to the church where special services are held. There are also regattas and rowing competitions.
The day before the Redentore, people start to decorate their boats, or their rooftop terraces early in the morning where they will watch the fireworks display that night. The boats gather in the slip of water between the city of Venice and the island of Giudecca and they wait for the fireworks whilst enjoying a feast. After the fireworks, some people make their way to the island of Lido and sit on the beach, waiting for the sun to rise.