Venice, the “Redeemer”, and the events in town

A gondola sliding lightly amongst ancient gateways, once elegant entrances for noble palaces. The faint murmuring of the water, slightly displaced by the gondolier’s skilled gesture, and the play of light over the canal enchant the Guests…

This is how we wish to open this firmly wanted issue, which we wish to dedicate, more than ever, to all our Guests and to the people who love this city.

Venice, like the whole world, wishes to start all over again, and wishes to do so by offering the most simple things: a gondola ride; a stroll among its alleyways and fondamenta (the quays) in town; a visit to a museum, to a church or to an exhibition; a tour amongst luxury shop-windows and artisan shops; a trip to the islands; an aperitif, a coffee or a typical dish to savour at one of the many outdoor tables set along its squares and embankments.

This period has undoubtedly changed something in all of us, but now there is a wish to move on.

The Municipality in Venice and all its institutions are vigorously at work for resuming all activities.

An important signal will be given during these days by the “Redeemer” – thus called by the Venetians – an ancient fête which has been continuing without interruptions for over four centuries, and more exactly, since 1592, the year when the church dedicated to the “Redeemer” himself was consecrated.

It all arose from a vow made by the Senate together with the populace to invoke the termination of a plague epidemic, which struck almost a third of the population at the time.

The symbol of that vow was to be an imposing church overlooking the water and facing the city.

The task was assigned to one of the major architects of that time, Andrea Palladio: it was 1577.

The third Sunday in July has marked this important remembrance ever since, with a significance which seems even stronger to us today.

This is why the Venice Municipality, headed by the Mayor, firmly intends this year’s date to be respected.

The sense of thankfulness and release from such a difficult moment (Venice also recently suffered another very severe blow with its exceptional high tides of the past November) will certainly be even more alive in this dire situation.

Of course, there will be rules and restrictions, designed to comply with the safety regulations still imposed by the government. They will be important and must be respected.

The spectacular fireworks over the water will not take place, nor any religious services, nor will it be possible (except for citizens) to use the suggestive crossing on a floating boat-bridge for the traditional pilgrimage, but the grand water-fête will happen, respecting tradition.

Guests will be able to view it from the Schiavoni embankments, from Saint Mark’s pier or from the Zattere quays, where spaced and numbers-regulated spaces will be planned (bookable free of charge on the event’s official website: veneziaunica.it) or in alternative, in comfort from the terraces of the hotels overlooking Saint Mark’s basin and the Giudecca Canal.

We remind you that the Fête will take place on the evening of Saturday 18 July. The traditional rowing races will follow late on Sunday afternoon.

Whereas the Redeemer ideally represents a strong signal for reopening, other signals make it clear that the city is ready now, albeit with due care, to present itself more attractively than ever. We are not talking about aesthetic values and beauties, the city has never lost those, on the contrary, but of a value which has always made it the undisputed capital of culture in Europe.

We refer to the scenario of events and to the monuments and museum heritage which has always distinguished it and which links it to international history and contemporaneity. Museums, exhibitions and palaces are slowly reopening their doors to both Italian and foreign guests.

In some cases, opening hours have not yet reached their full span, but with a bit of patience and attention it will be possible to start visiting all the great museums again: from the Galleries of the Accademia, a true temple of Venetian art and painting, to the Ducal Palace, the Serene Republic’s casket of millennial power, to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, one of the loveliest collections of modern art in the world (we are dedicating a few more lines to the latter two in the following pages).

Together with the museums, including those on the islands (the Glass and Lace ones), the most important exhibition venues are also reopening, and in this case too, generally with shortened hours. Photography dominates the scenario.

There is the exhibition dedicated to Carlo Naya, with splendid pictures of nineteenth-century Venice, which may be visited at the Veneto Institute of Letters, Arts and Sciences; the one dedicated to Henri Cartier-Bresson, the French founder of photo-reporting and to Egyptian photographer Youssef Nabil at Palazzo Grassi; there is the great retrospective on Jacques Henri Lartigue, at the Casa dei Tre Oci on the Giudecca.

There are further exhibitions at Palazzo Cini on Piranesi/Basilico; Untitled on contemporary art at the Punta della Dogana; at the Querini Stampalia Foundation and at the Bevilacqua La Masa Gallery (please check the art exhibitions section).

The performances billboard is reduced instead to a minimum (due to current laws), but is keeping certain important programmes offered by La Fenice Theatre and by the Carlo Goldoni Theatre (the latter’s calendar will be presented in the next few days, and may be checked on the webpages at www.teatrostabileveneto.it).

Novelties will arrive in this context from the beginning of September, with great events by The Venice Biennale. In the range of just over a month, the prestigious Foundation will present its Film, Theatre, Music and Dance festivals, as well as an important exhibition (starting from 29 August) about its own history, plus a series of events including a programme of guided tours at the Giardini and the Arsenal (from 15 July).

Venice is ready again to welcome the world, its doors are open, the way it has always been over its long history…

D.R.Venice is expecting the world, its doors are open, the way it has always been…

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